From circuit clouts to squeeze bunts, the Golden Eagles bats came out swinging.
Big Walnut, led by Shaye Kuhlman’s 4-for-4, 2-home run performance, pounded out 11 hits, in handing Mount Vernon a 9-5 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division loss Friday evening in Sunbury.
“We were making contact and driving the ball … you could tell by the sound of the ball hit the bat that it was going to carry,” Golden Eagle head coach Jeff Hatfield said. “And we also did a good job of playing small ball with the bunt while taking advantage of our scoring opportunities.”
Big Walnut (12-6, 6-4 OCC) jumped out to a 4-0 advantage after three innings against Mount Vernon starting and losing pitcher Madi Drabick. Kuhlman gave the Golden Eagles an early 1-0 lead with a solo blast in the first inning that cleared the left field fence. With one out in the third, Leah Shaw beat out a bunt for a single, moving to second on an errant throw by catcher Courtney Harris and came home on Kuhlman’s double to left. Hayley Apple followed with a line drive homer over the left field barrier for a the 4-0 lead.
Mount Vernon (7-8, 2-5 OCC), which defeated Big Walnut 6-2 back on April 17 on the Yellow Jackets’ home diamond, answered with a run on a Karolyn Rhodsback single and a two-out double by Nicole Doyle in the fourth and two runs in the fifth on a Torrey Totman double, a Harris single and a BW error to close to with a run of the lead a 4-3.
“We did not play a good game in Mount Vernon,” coach Hatfield said. “We did not swing the ball well and Mount Vernon tool advantage of their opportunities.”
The Golden Eagles came back with a 3-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to open up a 7-3 lead. Shaw and Kuhlman opened the inning with singles and Apple drew a walk to load the bases. Shaw came home on Brooke Hatfield’s sacrifice fly, Hatfield scored on Jessica Coletta’s pop-fly single to center and Apple scooted home on starting pitcher Kate Petty’s perfectly executed squeeze bunt.
The Yellow Jackets were not ready to go peacefully, closing the gap to 7-5 against Petty in the top of the sixth. With two out, Alex Rutherford single to center and rode home on Erin Totman’s four-bagger over the center field fence.
“Mount Vernon is a competitive ball club,” coach Hatfield noted. “They kept battling and refused to go quietly.”
Big Walnut put the game out of reach with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to Britni Hayes’ leadoff double over the right-center field fence and Kuhlman’s second circuit clout of the game, a two-run shot to left for the 9-5 final.
Kuhlman led Big Walnut’s 12-hit batting attack with her 4-for-4 effort which produced a double, two homers, 4 runs scored and 4 runs batted in. Apple was 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, three runs scored and two RBI. Shaw as 2-for-4 with a run.
For Mount Vernon, Drabick was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run, Rutherford was 2-for-4 with a double and Totman 1-for-4 with a run and 2 RBI.
Petty went the distance in the circle for Big Walnut, giving up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits and 4 bases on balls while striking r to record the win. In Drabick’s 6 innings for Mount Vernon, she allowed 9 runs, all earned, on 12 hits and two walks. She did not strike out a batter.