By PAUL HINES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON – The Rams used a pair of strategies at the plate in a 13-3 win Wednesday against Breese Central.
“These guys have been pretty steady at the plate as far as their plate discipline this year,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “That's one of our strengths right now. We took advantage of our opportunities.”
In the opening inning, Mt. Vernon hitters attacked the ball early in the count. The aggressive approach led to six straight hits to start the game. Landon Thomas and Pat Bradford both had extra-base knocks in the frame.
“We hit some line shots that first inning,” Holloway said. “Every hit was hard. (We) got off to a great start.”
The explosive hitting helped the Rams build a 5-0 edge after the first. Thomas launched an RBI triple over the center fielder's head. Bradford added an RBI double that knocked off the left field fence.
Late in the game, Mt. Vernon used its patient plate approach to add more runs.
Up 9-0 in the fourth inning, the Rams added a trio of runs without a hit. The Rams drew five straight walks and six in the inning against Central pitchers. Mt. Vernon coaxed 11 walks total in the game.
Collin Young led the Mt. Vernon offense against the Cougars. He reached every time up, finishing with two hits, three walks and two RBI.
“Collin is a winning player,” Holloway said. “His on-base percentage is over .500. Any way he can get on, he's going to find a way.”
Matthew Williams added a hit, walk and two RBI.
Mt. Vernon had a chance to end the game in five innings after taking a 12-2 lead into the top of the fifth. Central managed to extend the game another inning. Gunner Shumard knocked an RBI double to make the score 12-3.
Tyler Morgan was the winning pitcher for the Rams. Twice the Cougars loaded the bases against Morgan, and he pitched out of trouble with minimal damage.
“He got ahead with his offspeed and put them away,” Holloway said. “So that was big. If he doesn't get out of those bases-loaded jams, they get two or three each one of those times it's a different ball game.”
Mt. Vernon improved to 16-5 this season. Breese Central dropped to 7-5. The Rams travel to Belleville for a conference matchup against Althoff today.