Junior second baseman now leads state in HR

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FORTVILLE — Even Rachel Davis can’t put into words where her home run power has suddenly emerged from.

“It’s kind of a new thing,” offered the junior second baseman. “I don’t know, it just happens.”

Davis clubbed her state-best eighth round-tripper of the season and drove in three runs for the Mt. Vernon softball team Friday night, helping the Marauders take down Greenfield-Central 9-5.

MV (7-7, 4-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference) has prevailed in three straight after dropping six in a row earlier this month.

G-C (9-4, 1-1 HHC) fell for the first time in three tries.

The offense has come around too. The Marauders managed just six runs in the last five games of their losing streak; they’ve now plated 28 runs in their last three contests.

“We were hitting the ball before (the win streak). Some of those losses were to ranked teams,” explained Mt. Vernon coach Mike McGill, whose team lost to a trio of 4A top-20 squads during its losing skid. “We do that on purpose. We are not concerned about our regular-season record, we’re concerned about getting our kids ready to play sectional and go on from there.”

Last spring, the black and gold started 6-6 before winning 16 of 18 to close its season, which included the program’s first sectional championship in a decade.

As for Davis, who has nearly tripled her home run total from last year (three) and is one RBI shy of surpassing her RBI count from 2012 (18), acknowledged that the tough schedule will work out for MV in the long run.

“Those first few games were really hard, but I think it’s going to get a lot easier for us,” she said. “It’s helping us now having faced better pitchers earlier.”

Entering Friday’s matchup, the Marauders looked to have their hands full against Cougar ace Ashley Whitaker, who brought a record of 7-1 with 80 strikeouts in 52 and a third innings with her to Fortville.

Whitaker did her part to put G-C ahead early, sending an RBI single up the middle to score Darcie Huber in the top of the first.

But, the hosts responded in the home half. Rachel Houck walked, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Ellie Balbach’s bloop base hit to left.

The Marauders plated another run in the second on Houck’s sharp single to right, scoring Mikala Poe.

Three more scored for Mt. Vernon in the third on Poe’s RBI single and Emily White’s two-run double to left.

With her team up 5-1 entering the bottom of the fourth, Davis notched what would be the game’s deciding runs in striking fashion.

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