The offensive floodgates finally opened in the ninth inning for Mt. Vernon's baseball team.
The Rams piled up six runs in the ninth inning to claim a 7-3 extra-inning victory Tuesday.
“I am proud of our guys for competing hard and playing with a lot of focus,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “Today, we kept ourselves in the game with pitching and defense before our offense was finally able to break through.”
The late runs dealt the decisive blow in the game, but a perfectly executed pickoff play by the Rams gave the Orphans a critical blow.
“Fortunately it worked out for us, and we were able to get the job done with that and as happens a lot of times in this game we had some momentum,” Holloway said.
With the game tied at one in the bottom of the eighth, Centralia moved a runner to second base with one out. That's when Mt. Vernon executed a hidden ball pickoff move with Brock Fulkerson on the mound. Fulkerson whirled for a pickoff at second while the Rams fielders acted like the ball was thrown wildly into center field. The Centralia runner broke for third and was tagged out after a brief rundown.
“We had an unfortunate baserunning mistake in the (ninth), and then we just didn't compete after that,” Centralia coach Matt Kottmeyer said.
Mt. Vernon took the momentum of the strong defensive play into the top of the ninth. After struggling as a team throughout the game with runners in scoring position, Thomas Weber helped the Rams break out. The senior knocked an RBI single to give the Rams a 2-1 edge.
“Huge hit by Thomas there in the ninth,” Holloway said. “He's done well for us.
“He's a senior, and he is a guy we can count on.”