MT. VERNON —
The Rams baseball team added another dramatic victory to their tally Thursday.
Zach Jines provided the game-winning hit for the Rams in the top of the eighth. The clutch single helped Mt. Vernon claim a 5-4 win in eight innings over Marion in the 3A regional semifinal.
“To beat Marion, we were going to have to play well,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “Because they've won a lot of games. They swing the bat pretty well and their pitcher (Chandler Riem) made it tough on us.”
Mt. Vernon lost twice in the regular season against the Wildcats. Both defeats were by one run.
“Losing to Marion twice in the year, we felt some extra motivation coming into the regional game, especially hosting, having a lot fans and all the support. It just felt great,” Jines said.
Brock Fulkerson pitched a complete game for the Rams on the mound. He finished with 10 strikeouts. He walked one batter and hit three.
Thomas Weber got the Mt. Vernon offense rolling early as the lead traded sides several times in the opening innings.
Weber smashed a solo homer over the left field fence with two outs in the top of the first to give the Rams a 1-0 edge. Marion tied the game in the bottom of the opening frame only to have the Rams surge back ahead in the second.
With Braden Smith at third, Jines dropped down a safety squeeze bunt that allowed Smith to score. The run put the Rams up 2-1. Marion bounced back immediately and tied the game again in the bottom of the second.
Weber helped the Rams responded in the top of the third. The catcher blasted a shot to the deepest part of Brennan Klein Memorial Field for a double and gave Mt. Vernon a 3-2 edge. The Rams went up 4-2 when Darick Hayes was caught in a rundown at second base, allowing Blake Jones to run home.