SALEM – Mt. Vernon won its fourth straight game (all in the past three days) Friday afternoon with a 10-0 victory over Salem in high school softball action.
The win puts the Lady Rams at 14-19. Mt. Vernon will start Regional play Monday.
It was the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. The first went to Salem, 5-2, in Mt. Vernon. With Friday’s win, the Lady Rams tied the series with the rubber match coming Monday in the play-in game of the Mt. Vernon Class 3A regional.
“We feel that [win] is huge for us because we’re going to be facing them again Monday in the Regional,” said Mt. Vernon coach Bill England. “I wanted to have the contest today to put some thoughts in their heads and give us some positive momentum going into [Monday].”
The Lady Rams started the week with a loss to Belleville East (Monday] and then falling to Effingham at home on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, started their four-game winning streak with a win over Class 4A O’Fallon, a doubleheader victory over Cahokia Thursday then finishing up Friday with the win at Salem.
“It was a little slow the first of the week,” said England. “A little stagnant with the bats, but last four games now we’ve hit the ball well. When the bats show up, good things happen for us.”
Addi Sargent picked up the victory. She threw all seven innings striking out 13 batters while giving up two hits, walking two and hitting a batter.
“We knew she threw well against them last time only allowed three hits against them last time at our place when they got us, 5-2,” said England. “We just kicked the ball around a little bit that game.
“We played good defense. We’ve been playing good defense as of late. We’re getting good pitching and the bats have been showing up. We feel like we’re playing pretty well right now.”
Mt. Vernon started early in the first inning with a solo home run from Brooklyn Kelley to put the Lady Rams up 1-0. In the second inning, Mt. Vernon batted around in the second and put four more runs on the board to take a 5-0 lead.
“I feel like we’re on top of our game right now,” said England. “We’re getting good pitching. We’re playing good defense. We’re starting to play as a team and that’s what it takes.”
Mt. Vernon added a run in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
Ashton McPherson was 2-for-5. Sydney Morgan was 2-for-4 with two-RBI, three stolen bases and two runs scored. Kelley was 2-for-4 with her home run, three-RBI, one run and a double.
Jordyn Bauer was 2-for-4 with two-RBI and two stolen bases and Kayla Hawkins was 3-for-4 with a RBI, stolen base and two runs scored.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well, up and down the lineup, the last few games,” said England. “We know the potential has been there all year and at times it has been there. We feel like we’re hitting on all cylinders right now.”
Right now, records don’t mean much to England. What matters is how his team is playing and he feels the Lady Rams are peaking at the right time.
I’m not really concerned about the record. I’ve said all along, we’re better than our record has indicated. We felt like we were ready to turn that corner halfway through the season and just lost some one-run contests and close contests. We feel like we’re playing well right now.
England says he’s happy to be hosting the regional.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” he explained. “We haven’t played well at home, but Regionals, the girls are pumped up about it and I’m glad to host.”
Monday’s play-in game is scheduled for 4:30 PM. The winner plays Herrin Tuesday at the same time.