By PAUL HINES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON – A late East Peoria rally spoiled the Rams chance for a Saturday doubleheader sweep.
Mt. Vernon won the opening game 3-2 in extra innings but lost the second matchup 9-8.
The Rams’ Sawyer Harrison delivered the game-winning single in the ninth inning of the first game to give Mt. Vernon the win. The Rams were well on their way to a sweep after building a 6-0 advantage early in the second matchup. East Peoria wiped out the Rams edge late for a shock win.
“It was there for the taking,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “We had the momentum. We get up 6-0. Our guy’s throwing pretty good. We still had too many walks on the day, but we had a chance to get a sweep here.”
Collin Young finished the doubleheader with three hits and three RBI along with a walk. Harrison had a pair of hits and three RBI, which all came in the first game.
Harrison helped the Rams seize an early lead in the opening game. He bounced a ball down the third-base line in the second inning. The ball got past the East Peoria third baseman and went down into the left field corner. The two-out hit scored a pair of runs and put Mt. Vernon up 2-0.
The Raiders evened the score in the fourth when Bobby Martin knocked a two-run single. The game stayed deadlocked until the bottom of the ninth and the Rams at the plate. Colten Meador opened the inning with a single.
With two outs, Clayton Reeves and Pat Bradford both drew walks. The free passes loaded the bases for Harrison, who delivered his game-winning hit.
“It was a battle,” Holloway said. “We had a big hit and Sawyer took advantage of his chance, but the sad thing is we’re going to feel bad about it because of what happened in game two.”
Thomas Weber was the winning pitcher in relief of Trevor Flota, who pitched five innings.
The Rams offense road the momentum of Harrison’s hit into the second game. Mt. Vernon stormed to a 6-0 edge after two innings. Collin Young started the scoring when he slammed a double to the deepest part of Brennan Klein Field. The shot bounced near the brick façade of the center field barrier and scored Matthew Williams. Jake Pike added an RBI single and scored on a pass ball to make the score 3-0.
The Rams tacked on three more in the second. Again, Young delivered a big blow. This time a two-run single.
The score stood at 8-3 with Mt. Vernon ahead when the Raiders made their move in the sixth. Mt. Vernon pitchers surrendered three walks and the defense committed an error to help East Peoria tie the game. The Raiders pushed another score across in the seventh before shutting down the Rams’ bats in the final half of the inning to take the victory.
“The bottom line is we pretty much gave this one to them,” Holloway said.
Mt. Vernon is 8-4 this season.