MOUNT VERNON — Two strikes? You can do a lot with two strikes.
You can start a game-defining rally, for instance.
Nadia Telecky and Maia Bentley both recovered from an 0-and-2 predicament to start the game. Nicole Sullivan followed with a three-run home run, and that ignited fifth-ranked Mount Vernon to a 12-3 Class 3A softball regional-final victory over No. 8 Anamosa on Monday at Mount Vernon High School.
“Our kids are good on 0-2 counts,” Mustangs Coach Robin Brand said. “You’ve got three shots to hit the ball, and we want to take advantage of all three.”
Mount Vernon (20-4) advances to the state tournament — next week at the Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge — for the seventh time. The Mustangs will face No. 4 Humboldt (20-2) in a first-round game.
They’ll take a hot offense that has scored 53 times in the last five games.
Telecky and Sullivan both drove in four runs, both collected three hits and both scored twice to trigger Mount Vernon’s 15-hit attack.
“The coaches have been on us about getting quality at bats,” Sullivan said. “We were seeing good pitches and working the count.”
Even when the count wasn’t in their favor.
Telecky led off the bottom of the first with a double — on an 0-2 count. Then Bentley turned an 0-2 start into an eight-pitch walk.
Then it was Sullivan, and then it was 3-0.
“It was huge,” Telecky said. “Just like that, it brought all of our energy to life.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I just had so much adrenaline,” Sullivan said. “I really wanted to get to state. I hadn’t been there since my eighth-grade year.”
That was at Cedar Rapids Prairie. Her family moved to Mount Vernon last fall, and the transition appears to have been smooth.
“I knew she was going to blend in well,” Brand said. “She’s been very selfless and does what’s best for the team.”
The Mustangs extended the margin to 8-0 in the third, with Telecky’s two-run single the highlight. Caitlin Babcock, Bentley and Sullivan added RBI hits.
After going down in order in the first three innings, Anamosa (13-2) got within 8-3 in the top of the fourth and had the bases loaded with one out, but Mustangs pitcher Jenna Sprague struck out the next two batters to avoid further damage.
Mount Vernon added a single tally in the fourth and fifth innings, then Telecky’s double plated two more in the sixth.
MOUNT VERNON 12, ANAMOSA 3
Class 3A Regional Final, at Mount Vernon
Anamosa 000 300 0 — 3 5 3
Mount Vernon 305 112 x — 12 15 1
Kalli Minger, Emily Watters (4) and Watters, Lexi Bright (4). Jenna Sprague and Mandy Morrical. W — Sprague (14-2). L — Minger (12-2). HR — MV: Nicole Sullivan (2).
Comments: (319) 368-8857; email@example.com