FORTVILLE — Graduation may have taken some offensive firepower, but Mt. Vernon’s baseball team has a luxury few others have.

Some holes will need to be filled when it comes to scoring runs, but on the mound, the Marauders have two of the state’s top right-handed arms in Cam Sullivan and Nick Heitman.

Sullivan, a preseason Prep Baseball All-State selection, has signed with Notre Dame. Heitman is headed to Iowa.

“We lost quite a few players, but we do have a lot of talent coming back, primarily our pitching staff,” Mt. Vernon head coach Brad King said.

Sullivan was 6-0 last season with a 1.55 earned run average. He fanned 78 in 40.2 innings pitched and gave up only nine earned runs. In addition, Sullivan hit .340 and had 16 RBI.

Heitman went 3-3 with a 3.53 ERA, fanning 62 in 35.2 innings pitched. He had the gem-of-gems on the hill in a Hoosier Heritage Conference victory over rival Greenfield-Central, fanning 17 in a victory where he threw only 79 pitches.

He was one of the team’s top hitters last year, too, with a .356 average, 10 doubles, 2 homers, 27 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

The Marauders are coming off a strong season, though it ended in disappointment with a loss to New Palestine in the sectional championship game.

They had 22 wins — second most in school history — spent much of the season ranked in the state’s top 10 and won the Hoosier Heritage Conference with a 13-1 mark. It was the first time a school had won three straight outright league titles.

They did most of it without their top player, Eli Bridenthal. He was injured in mid-April and did not return. He’s now pitching at Xavier University.

Sullivan and Heitman will be a 1-2 punch in HHC games. The league is set up to play two-game series with each team on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Conference rivals know they’ll see both in those crucial midweek games.

The Marauders pitching staff is more than the two D-I arms. They return pitchers Jack Peine and Nathan Criss. Both are expected to be in the team’s starting rotation. Peine was a key reliever last year, working in 17 games. He was 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA. He fanned 47 in 27.1 innings. He has signed to pitch at Marian University.

Criss, the lone lefty on the staff, is headed to Wabash College. He saw limited time on the mound last season, but had 20 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.

More mound help comes from juniors Andrew Boldt, Tristan Sitton, Griffin Raquet and senior Caden Taylor.

“You can have the best pitching in the world, but if you don’t score runs, it doesn’t really matter,” added King, noting the key losses his team had on offense, and their 2-0 loss in the sectional final to the Dragons.

Along with Bridenthal, Mt. Vernon graduated first baseman Konnor Scheidt, middle infielder Gavin Johnston, third baseman Russell Weaver and pitcher/outfielder Joseph Wilson.

Scheidt hit seven homers and drove in 33 last year. Johnston scored a team-best 28 runs. Weaver drove in 23 and Wilson hit .375 and had three wins and a save on the mound.

Along with the bats of Sullivan and Heitman, the Marauders have some other key returnees to help pack some offensive punch.

Speedy senior centerfielder Josh James won’t have the power stats, but he can be a headache to pitchers and catchers in a different way. He scored 20 runs and had 14 stolen bases last year.

“We’re pretty fast all the way around and Josh is our fastest guy,” King said.

D.J. Scheumann is a senior catcher. The Ball State signee was second to Scheidt in power numbers last year. He hit .291 with four home runs and 21 RBI. He also had three doubles and two triples.

Grant Payson, who also catches and will play outfield, returns after hitting .353 a year ago with 12 RBI. Payson has signed to play at Indiana Wesleyan.

Infielder Hayden Ford, who saw more time in the middle infield last year after Bridenthal’s injury, is another senior returnee. He hit .231 last season.

Will Jacobs is another senior returnee. He scored 24 runs last year and will likely play some first base this season.

Newcomers expected to get time in the infield include Gage Blanchard and Ryker Baer in the middle, and freshman Mason Meyer and Raquet on the corners.

Junior Gavin Joy is expected to join James in the outfield with Criss, Payson and possibly Heitman and Sullivan getting some time, too.

The regular season begins April 1 on the road at Franklin Central.

2024 Mt. Vernon Baseball Schedule


April 1;at Franklin Central;5;30 p.m.

April 2;at Delta;6 p.m.

April 3;vs. Delta;6 p.m.

April 6;vs. Fishers (DH at Kokomo);10:30 a.m.

April 9;at Shelbyville;6 p.m.

April 10;vs. Shelbyville;6 p.m.

April 13;at Harrison (DH);11 a.m.

April 16;vs. New Palestine;6 p.m.

April 17;at New Palestine;6 p.m.

April 18;vs. Muncie Central;6 p.m.

April 22;vs. Anderson;6 p.m.

April 23;at Pendleton Heights;6 p.m.

April 24;vs. Pendleton Heights;6 p.m.

April 27;vs. Richmond (DH);9 a.m.

April 29;at Brebeuf;6 p.m.

April 30;vs. New Castle;5:30 p.m.

May 1;at New Castle;5:30 p.m.

May 2;vs. Center Grove;6 p.m.

May 7;vs. Greenfield-Central;6 p.m.

May 8;at Greenfield-Central;6 p.m.

May 10;vs. Lawrence North (Victory Field);5 p.m.

May 11;at Bloom. North Tourney;TBD

May 14;vs. Yorktown;6 p.m.

May 15;at Yorktown;6 p.m.

May 20;vs. Carmel;6 p.m.