MOUNT VERNON — Hope Straight made a triumphant return to the circle after missing a season of pitching due to a labrum surgery, lasting all six innings on the rubber in a 10-0 Mount Vernon conference win over Lexington.
“My mindset was do it for my team, don’t do it for myself and make sure I have my team’s back,” Straight said. “I just knew I needed to have confidence. My team backed me up and they believed in me. With them believing in me and all their support, I knew I could do it for my team and for myself.”
After Straight drew two strikeouts in the first inning with allowing only two baserunners, the Jacket bats started the night hot. Brooke Rodamacher hit a two-RBI triple and Macee Marcum and Bryn Elliott each socked a double in the first inning and Mount Vernon was quickly up 3-0. Rodamacher was plated on a sacrifice hit by Annie Neipling.
In the second and third innings, both offenses were shut down. Both teams combined for only four baserunners between the two innings, and Straight was on fire in the third, racking up three-straight strikeouts.
“We are a pretty good hitting team,” Mount Vernon coach Mike Marcum said of the Jackets’ up-and-down hitting. “I think it’s just a matter of time until it starts happening for them. … We are very strong defensively, but it’s scary what we can do offensively.”
Mount Vernon proved what it can do with its bats in the sixth, quickly racking up five runs to end the game. Straight led off the sixth and sent a shot over the left field fence for her first homer of the year. Megan Pentz, Marcum and Carlena Fiorilli all got on base, with Pentz scoring on a wild pitch to push the edge to 8-0. Neipling ended the game with a double that played Marcum and Fiorilli to put the advantage at 10, enacting the run rule.
Straight finished the game pitching all six innings, racking up eight strikeouts, while allowing one hit and four walks.
“I wanted to see how Hope responded after coming back from that surgery and I told her tonight in the circle that I thought she did very well,” Marcum said. “I thought she responded and she threw hard the whole game. It was very encouraging for her, I know, and for me too.”
Elliott had a stellar game catching, throwing out two runners attempting to steal, while also applying the tag to another runner caught in a pickle.
Marcum had a great day at the plate, recording a double and two singles, scoring two runs to go along with an RBI. Rodamacher kicked in a triple, two RBI and a run, while Neipling had three hits, a run and three RBI. Straight’s home run put her a triple away from the cycle, finishing with three hits, two runs, two RBI and a stolen base.
Jullina Bammann pitched into the sixth inning with a strikeout to her credit. She also had the team’s only hit, which was a single in the first inning.
The Jackets are 2-0 on the year, outscoring their opponents 25-1 so far this spring. Mount Vernon hits the road to take on Lexington tonight with a 5 p.m. start.
“This is a good start to our season,” Straight said. “We excelled both on defense and on offense. It just set the tone for us to keep moving forward.”
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