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Approaching the Class 3A softball regional championship at Lebanon, set for a 6 p.m. start between the host Tigers (27-2) and Mt. Vernon Marauders (21-7).
A few notes to get us started:
* Lebanon has won three straight sectional titles, but has never won a regional championship.
* Mt. Vernon won its first sectional title since 2002 last week by outscoring three sectional opponents (Brebeuf, Chatard, Guerin) by a combined score of 53-0. Mt. Vernon’s last regional title was also in 2002. The Marauders won the Class 3A state title in 2000.
* Lebanon’s two sectional games (against Frankfort and Western Boone) were decided by 2-1 scores.
* Lebanon and Mt. Vernon have several common opponents, including:
— Hamilton Heights (Lebanon Win, 8-3; Mt. Vernon W, 12-0)
— Hamilton Southeastern (Lebanon L, 14-1: Mt. Vernon L, 8-5)
— Fishers (Lebanon L, 2-1; Mt. Vernon L, 7-6)
— Brebeuf (Lebanon W, 12-0; Mt. Vernon W, 12-0)
* Mt. Vernon starting pitcher Ellie Balbach and starting shortstop Rachel Houck were members of the Marauders’ basketball team that won a regional title hosted by Lebanon on Feb. 18. Mt. Vernon beat Lebanon 64-44 in the afternoon semifinal and Edgewood 58-36 in the championship.
* Balbach (18-3, 2.40 ERA) and Houck (.596, 14 HR, 47 RBI), both juniors, lead the Marauders, along with senior third baseman Whitney Estes (.535, 47 RBI), junior first baseman Brooke Saldana (.439, 11 2B, 30 RBI) and sophomore DH Ambry Turpen (.392, 31 RBI). Lebanon stats were not available, but a story in the Lebanon Reporter notes that Tigers senior tri-captains Lexi Reese, Danielle Bruner and Paige Keller have helped the Tigers compile a 101-14 record in their four varsity seasons.
* The winner of this one-game regional championship will advance to the Brown County Semistate on Saturday to face the winner of the Boonville (24-5)-Heritage Hills (24-6) regional. The semistate semifinals will be played Saturday morning/afternoon with the championship held Saturday evening. Exact times will be announced. North Harrison (24-5)-South Dearborn (17-10) and Edgewood (18-11)-Tri-West (17-10) are the regional games that will make up the other Brown County Semistate semifinal.
We’ll be back with the blog once warmups get underway. Good luck to both teams. And don’t forget to look online with the story later tonight and tomorrow for a full gallery of Mt. Vernon pictures from the regional. Pictures of the Marauders throughout the season and from their sectional championship are also available to view under the photo tab of this website. You can also follow us on Twitter @GDRsports
Warm ups almost complete. Mt. Vernon will be visiting team on the scoreboard. First pitch in approximately 15 minutes.
Lebanon 2, Mt. Vernon 0
In the bottom of the first, Lebanon put together two triples and a single to take the early lead. The Tigers also benefited from two wild pitches.
Lebanon 3, Mt. Vernon 0
After a scoreless second inning, Lebanon scored an unearned run in the bottom of the third. After reaching on an error and advancing to second on another error, Lebanon's Whitney Cosgray scored on a 2-out double.
Lebanon 9, Mt. Vernon 0
The Marauders won three sectional games by the 10-run rule, now they're on the verge of losing in the same manner. The Tigers collected seven hits in the bottom of the fifth inning on the way to six runs off starter Balbach. If the Tigers score another run in the sixth inning, assuming MV doesn't get on the board in the top of the sixth, this game is over.
END 7, FINAL
Lebanon 9, Mt. Vernon 0
Lebanon sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Montgomery completed her mastery of the Marauders, retiring the side in the top of the seventh to end the game. In the final four innings, Montgomery retired 12 of the 13 hitters she faced. Emily White's 2-out bunt single in the fourth inning accounted for the only MV basebrunner over the last four frames.
Mt. Vernon finished with four hits, while Lebanon tagged Balbach for 12 hits.
Mt. Vernon head coach Mike McGill: "Like I told the kids, you live by the sword and you die by the sword. And that's what happened. The bats just went dead and the ones that we did hit were right at them. That happens in softball. I've watched this Lebanon team twice; I watched them in March against Fishers and I watched them in their sectional championship. And neither time did they hit the ball like that."
"It looked like Ellie's change was working pretty well, but it looked like she left a couple pitches in the middle of the plate. And against good hitters you can't do that."
Mt. Vernon shortstop Rachel Houck: "Their pitcher was a lot better than what we've seen and it was hard to adjust to it. And we just didn't play like we have been. We kind of had an off game. We weren't doing what we usually do."
"We only lose two players and everyone else is back, so we're probably going to play Lebanon again next year, so we'll have another chance at it."
Look for a complete recap of the game, plus photos, in The Daily Reporter. Thanks for following along tonight.