GREENFIELD — Mt. Vernon did what you expect teams on long winning streaks to do.

Trailing 2-1 late in Tuesday’s Hoosier Heritage Conference baseball game with Hancock County rival Greenfield-Central, the Marauders found a way to win.

Down to its final three outs, Mt. Vernon led off the seventh inning with back-to-back walks. Grant Payson hit a one-out seventh-inning single to tie the game, and Nick Heitman followed shortly with a two-out, go-ahead RBI-double.

For insurance, Konnor Scheidt delivered a two-run double in Mt. Vernon’s 5-3 win over Greenfield-Central at Molinder Field.

It was Mt. Vernon’s 10th straight win, and 17th straight win in the HHC. Its last conference loss came April 27, 2022 against Pendleton Heights.

The Marauders, seeking to be the first HHC team to win three straight outright league titles, improved to 11-0 in conference games this season. They have a 1.5 game lead over Yorktown. The Tigers are 10-2. The two teams will play a two-game HHC series next week.

Greenfield-Central dropped to 12-6-1 and 7-4 in conference games. G-C and MV meet again today in Fortville.

“We’ve done that a few times this year,” Mt. Vernon coach Brad King said of his team rallying late in games. “We’ve been behind — we did it against New Pal. What I tell them is, winners find a way to win. We can sit there and mope that we’re getting mowed down and the guy is pitching really well. The thing is, you play seven innings. Until that last out is made, this team has got to believe that they are going to continue to stay in the game. And, they do. They have that belief.

“I felt like we were still in the game. It was only a one-run game. It wasn’t like we were down three or four runs.”

It was just a one-run game, but the Marauders weren’t having much success against Greenfield-Central senior right-handed pitcher Connor Sims. He struck out 12 in six innings. From the last out in the third inning, to the top of the seventh, he struck out eight of 11 batters faced. There was also a hit by pitch and two ground outs.

He finally ran out of steam in the seventh. Nathan Criss and Josh James drew walks ahead of Payson’s hard-hit single to center field. Criss scored and James was thrown out trying to go to third base. Payson moved to second on the throw and scored when Heitman hit reliever Luke Willett’s first pitch sharply to right field for a double.

“We played well enough to win,” Greenfield-Central coach Mark Vail said. “They swing the bat real well and they got us in the end.

“I think (Connor) ran out of gas a little bit and his pitch count was up. He pitched very well. He kept us right there. If we could have scored a couple more runs.”

“Sims threw a great game,” King added on the G-C pitcher. “He kept us off-balance. His off-speed pitches were fantastic. A lot of credit to him. I think he got tired and out of pitches and we were able to capitalize.”

Mt. Vernon scored first with a run in its opening at-bat.

Like the seventh, Heitman and Scheidt hit doubles. It gave the Marauders a 1-0 advantage.

Greenfield-Central answered with a run off Mt. Vernon junior right-hander Cameron Sullivan. The Cougars did it without a hit.

Grant Shepherd and Andrew Zellers each were hit by a pitch. Sims hit a grounder to second base that was bobbled to load the bases. AJ Oden hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Shepherd.

The Cougars took a 2-1 lead in the third. Landon Brooks led the inning off with a double. He moved to third on a Zellers’ ground out and scored when Brodie Mayberry hit into a fielder’s choice.

Neither team scored again until the seventh. Sullivan got out of jams in each frame. In his five innings of work, he struck out eight, three came to end innings with Cougars on base. He struggled some with control, hitting four batters and walking two more.

Mt. Vernon reliever Jack Peine picked up the win. He fanned three in two innings and got out of trouble, too. In the seventh, he gave up a leadoff home run to Zellers and a one-out single to Oden, before fanning the final two G-C hitters.

The Cougars left 1o on base.

“We weren’t really hitting it that well at the start, but we never let down or got down on each other and got the hits when we needed to,” Heitman said of his team’s win, and winning attitude. “It’s never losing energy. We had energy throughout the dugout, throughout the game. We were bringing each other up, picking each other up. No one was slamming helmets or slamming bats, it was a good environment.”

Mt. Vernon 5, Greenfield-Central 3

Mt. Vernon (16-2, 11-0);100;000;4; —;5;7;1

Greenfield-Central (12-6-1, 7-4);101;000;1; —;3;5;0

Cam Sullivan, Jack Peine (6) and Grant Payson. Connor Sims, Luke Willett (7) and Brodie Mayberry. 2B: MV – Nick Heitman 2, Konnor Scheidt. G-C – Landon Brooks. HR: G-C – Andrew Zellers (2). WP: Peine (3-0). LP: Sims.