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Marauders win Cougar Classic

May 13, 2012
By Andrew Smith of Hancock County Sports

The Mt. Vernon Marauders won the Cougar Classic softball tournament, beating Greenfield-Central 8-3 in the title game. 

The Marauders won all three games on the day to improve to 15-7 on the year. They've won nine of their last 10 games, clinching the HHC title in the process.

Ellie Balbach was solid in the championship game, striking out nine Cougars in a complete-game victory as she improved her personal record to 10-3. She allowed six hits and three earned runs.

The Marauders pulled ahead with a six-run fifth inning that turned a one-run deficit into a 7-2 lead. It started with a hit batter and two walks to Kourtney Kelty, Emily White and Rachel Houck. Kelty and White both scored on wild pitches, and then Brooke Saldana's groundout plated Houck with a run that put MV up 4-2. Balbach, Whitney Estes and Ambry Turpen followed with singles, and all would score -- Turpen and Rachel Davis both had RBI hits.

Balbach allowed two hits from there, but G-C's lone remaining run came in the seventh as the Cougars tried to come back -- Sami Frazier was hit by a pitch, and her courtesy runner Bekah Mohr scored on Ashley Whitaker's hit. MV took advantage of two errors to score in the top of the inning.

MV scored first in the top of the first, when Houck walked and scored on Balbach's single to center. G-C answered with two runs in the third, as Whitaker doubled to the rightfield fence. Alyssa Walls followed with a walk. Brittany Hardwick's second double of the game plated Whitaker, while Walls scored on Brittany Wasson's groundout to second.

G-C starter Frazier took the loss, allowing seven earned runs, six hits and striking out 10 Marauders.

G-C is now 18-8 on the season.


The Marauders won their semifinal game 8-7 over Seymour as Rachel Houck hit a solo homer with two outs in the seventh inning to break a 7-all tie and clinch a see-saw game. 

Balbach then struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

The top of the order did a lot of damage as MV had an 18-hit attack. Houck went 5-for-5 with two doubles, the aforementioned game-winning homer, three runs and two RBI. Saldana was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Cleanup hitter Estes was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Rachel Davis had the big blow for MV, hitting a two-run pinch homer in the fifth that gave MV a 6-5 lead after they had trailed for much of the first five innings. The inning started with MV trailing 5-3, but Estes and Turpen led off with back-to-back hits. Estes scored on an error, and that set things up for Davis, who crushed a pitch over the right-centerfield fence to give MV the lead. MV would add another run with four more hits in the inning, with Saldana's single plating White.

While MV led 7-5 at that point, Seymour rallied with two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, thanks to back-to-back two-out RBI hits by Nikki Clevenger and Logan Personett after a walk and a hit batter opened the inning. Balbach then set down the Owls in the last two innings allowing only one baserunner.

MV scored one in the top of the first when Houck doubled and came home on Estes' hit. But Seymour answered in the bottom of the inning, and then added two in the third when an infield single, a walk and four MV wild pitches allowed two runs to cross. MV tied it in the top of the fourth when Houck and Saldana had back-to-back RBI hits, but Seymour answered with two more runs to take a 5-3 lead into the fifth. Balbach got the win in relief, allowing one run in three innings.

Meanwhile, Greenfield-Central lost its semifinal game to Richmond by an 8-4 score as the Red Devils scored five runs in the top of the seventh to turn a 4-3 deficit into a victory.

Ashley Whitaker hit an early homer for the Cougars to tie the game at 3-3 after Richmond scored three in the top of the second off Whitaker. Frazier came on in relief and held the Red Devils down until the seventh, which included a three-run homer that broke the game open. However, due to player availability concerns, Richmond was unable to play in the title game, so it forfeited its position in the championship matchup to the Cougars.

In the quarterfinals, G-C beat Franklin County and MV beat Greensburg 20-3. Eastern Hancock also went 0-2 on the day, falling to Seymour in the final at-bat, and then falling to Greensburg 5-4 in the consolation round.


Royals post sweep: Eastern Hancock swept the Indianapolis Kings homeschool team Saturday at EH, winning the opener 6-4 and the nightcap 5-3.

In the opener, Cody Wallace hit his state-best 10th homerun, a solo shot, and went 2-for-2 with two runs. Hunter Brown had two hits and two runs. Cole Fout had two RBI. EH jumped ahead 5-0 with a four-run third inning. Coston Brown allowed eight hits, four runs and two earned runs in six innings to get the win. Kyle Kramer pitched the seventh, striking out one to get the save.

In the second game, EH scored three runs in the second to go ahead 3-1, then added two in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead before the Kings scored two in the sixth.

Hunter Brown was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Dalton Korlowicz, Justin Dunlavy and Coston Brown all had a hit and a run each, and Cole Fout had an RBI. EH had six hits on the day.

Wallace pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs, with four strikeouts. He got the win on the mound. Kramer again came on in relief, allowing one hit over 1 2/3 innings to get the save.

EH is now 9-10 on the season. The Royals travel to Northeastern Monday.


Marauders fall in invitational: Mt. Vernon's tennis team dropped two matches to very strong squads in the rescheduled Mt. Vernon Invitational. The Marauders fell to Lebanon 5-0 and to Marion 4-1.

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