Mt. Vernon baseball turns corner despite losses, tops Seneca Indian squad

Freshman Gavin Johnston records the 6-3 putout against Ash Grove. Johnston made the most of his opportunities converting five opportunities in the field.

Braden Dodson knocks a single in the sixth inning against Ash Grove. The freshman had two hits against Ash Grove and was instrumental in big fourth and six innings. (Photos by Skylan Akins)

It has been a tough season for the young Mt’neer baseball squad. They sit at 5-8 coming into the mid-season after a 3-1 start to the year. While youth may be a big issue for Mt. Vernon this year, they may have just had their best run despite going just 1-2 for the week.
The Mt’neers opened the week with a win over Seneca, 5-1, on Tuesday. Then the Mt’neers were staring at two of the best teams in the area to wrap up the week in rival Aurora and Ash Grove.

Versus Aurora
Mt. Vernon put up a great battle in a 4-0 loss, that saw Aurora dual-sport standout Jaesik Friggle dominate the young lineup for the eighth-ranked Houn’ Dawgs. The Mt’neers had a fantastic day on the mound and in the field limiting the high octane offense to just four runs.

Versus Ash Grove
The Mt’neers then faced a very good Ash Grove team led by junior phenom Brock Mooneyham. Ash Grove capitalized on a wild start from junior pitcher Payton West who walked the first three batters of the game. Two doubles and a single gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead after the top of the first. Mt. Vernon manufactured a run in the bottom.
Sophomore Jake Leeper crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly from fellow sophomore Sean Raucher. The Pirates capitalized on two more walks that resulted in two more runs to bring the score to 8-1. Then the Mt’neers showed their fight as freshman Braden Dodson took the mound. Leeper hit a double to open the third and a single from senior Brady Brown drove Leeper in to bring the score to 8-2 after three.
After a scoreless fourth, Brown would drive in freshman Jarrett Zerby and Dodson with a 2-RBI single with two outs. Ash Grove responded with one in the top of the fifth to go up 9-4, but the Mt’neers were about to take over all momentum in the game. Raucher pelted a lead off triple. Freshman Brayden Jameson pinch hit for junior Caleb Rinker and coach Nick Swillum looked like a genius for the move, as the freshman left the yard for a two-run home run to cut the lead to just three after five innings.
Brown wasn’t done at the plate yet as he drove in Dodson with his third hit of the game that led to a triple. The game really got interesting in the bottom of the seventh as the Mt’neers attempted to finish off the epic comeback. Three of the first four batters of the inning got on base via walk. With the potential go ahead run on base, Dodson put a jolt on a fastball that looked like it was going to get down, but a fantastic play by Ash Grove ended the Mt’neers charge 9-7.
The Mt’neers fall to 6-10 on the year and have another very tough week ahead with battles against two state-ranked teams. They opened the week at College Heights, Monday before returning to Spirit of '76 Park against No. 6 in Class 4 Hollister. It won't get any easier Thursday as the top-ranked team in Class 3 Springfield Catholic comes to town. The Mt’neers will wrap up the week Friday against a quietly good Verona squad.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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