By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON — The Lady Rams displayed solid pitching and defense in Friday's 4-1 win over Mt. Carmel.
Mt. Vernon committed just one error and retired 14 straight Mt. Carmel batters at one point.
“It's a step in the right direction,” Mt. Vernon coach Lance Boldt said. “Just as importantly, Hannah Wright threw strikes so when they got those hits we didn't compound those things with free passes. (It's) just a great job by Hannah and great job defensively by the whole team.”
Hannah Wright pitched a complete game for the Lady Rams and finished with eight strikeouts. Wright allowed a pair of triples in the opening inning. The only other hit for the Golden Aces came in the final inning on a single.
Hannah Wright also helped the Lady Rams offense with a monstrous home run to the deepest part of centerfield. She blasted the solo shot the sixth inning.
“She crushed it with the wind blowing in,” Boldt said. “She even said she got under it a little bit.
“She was hoping to get a gapper and break the school record for triples. I thought she might stop at third there, but she went ahead and went on home.”
The Lady Rams trailed 1-0 before seizing the lead for good in the third. Jazmine Hawkins reached on an error to start the Lady Rams rally. She stole second, and Hannah Wright followed with a walk. Runners stood at second and third after a sacrifice bunt from Rachel Wright. Hannah Carbonaro followed with a single that scored both runners and gave Mt. Vernon a 2-1 edge.
The lead expanded when Malorie Garner drove pinch runner Makiah Rush in with a single to give the Lady Rams a 3-1 cushion.
Several times throughout the game the Lady Rams were able to successfully move runners over and reach on bunt singles. Casey Little had a bunt for a base hit and also added a sacrifice. Alexis Stewart and Malorie Garner both added bunt singles.
“We have some players at the bottom of our order who are when things are going well they're able to lay down some bunts and beat them out,”Boldt said. “We have some speed down there at the bottom of the order.”
Garner finished with three hits and an RBI for Mt. Vernon. Hannah Wright finished with two hits, a walk and an RBI. Carbonaro had two hits and an RBI.
Mt. Vernon is 8-12 overall this season and travels to Herrin on Monday.
“(It's) real tough competition coming up, which is what we want going into the regionals,” Boldt said. “Our goal right now is just to get better each week.
“It's nice because we're playing our best softball right now.”