MOUNT VERNON — A small crack was all it took to open the flood gates on the Mount Vernon baseball team Monday.
Yellow Jackets’ pitcher Trenton Kane-Sapp and Newark pitcher Logan Swonger had been battling each other tooth and nail for five innings. But, in the sixth, an infield hit for the Wildcats turned into three more hits and three runs as the Wildcats pulled off a 3-1 upset in the Division I Sectional tournament.
“This is my first year (as coach) and I’ve learned a lot. One thing I learned, especially today, is that the best team doesn’t always win. It’s that team that plays the best. My hat’s off to Newark. They were the best team today,” said Mount Vernon head coach Nate Hunt.
Kane-Sapp and Swonger kept trading goose eggs until that fateful sixth inning. Neither allowed many hits, and when they did, they snuffed out any idea of a rally rather quickly.
Through five innings, Kane-Sapp had allowed just two hits while striking out five, and Swonger had allowed just one hit to Mount Vernon while striking out 10.
Swonger also got the initial hit that ultimately doomed the Jackets, hitting a screwball up the middle that just got past Kane-Sapp and charging shortstop Jaxon Snyder wasn’t able to corral quick enough. Jake Sherman, Gavin Mangus and Justin Hoy followed with singles, turning Kane-Sapp’s shutout bid into a 3-run deficit.
“He’s just a sophomore and he pitched the best I could ask him to do,” Hunt said of Kane-Sapp. “I told the other coaches that the first one to score would win and that’s what happened.”
The Jackets weren’t quite ready to go home, finally putting a dent in the scoreboard in the bottom half of the sixth. Blake Meyer led off with a single and moved to second on a one-out single from Noah Hubbard. Noah Gleason then hit a sharp grounder to short and Gavin Mangus bobbled the ball, allowing everyone to be safe, including Meyer who sprinted all the way home from second base on the play. “We were still fighting. That says a lot about this team,” Hunt said. “All year, we’ve played with 12 guys — 12 quality guys.”
Swonger was able to get two more outs to get out of the inning, though, and the Wildcats went on to post the victory.
Meyer had two of the three Jacket hits, both singles, and scored the only run. Hubbard also singled.
Kane-Sapp pitched six innings, allowing six hits and hitting one batter, while striking out six. Tristan Taylor finished up, fanning two of the three batters he faced.
Swonger ended the game with 12 strike outs, three hits and one walk to help his Wildcats advance to play Hilliard Bradley on Wednesday.