It appears that the Lady Mustangs have finally has gotten untracked in their second GHSA season with a surge in the past month that has them dreaming of a state playoff spot.
With a 13-9 overall record and 4-3 mark in Region 5A, Mount Vernon was 11th in the latest Class A private school power rankings which came out last Tuesday. The top 16 teams in the last poll of the regular season qualify for the postseason.
Coming off an 8-15 record in their inaugural GHSA campaign in 2012, the Lady Mustangs lost seven of their first 10 games in an early schedule that featured teams like Westminster and Lovett as well as some teams from Class AAA and AAAA.
They started to click after that, however, winning 10 of their next 12.
“It’s been a really good season for us, especially as of late,” Mount Vernon coach Mike Edmonson said. “We had a slow beginning. We’re learning how to win in close ballgames and learning how to compete at a higher level.
“I was aggressive with the schedule, trying to schedule tough opponents and really force us to learn how to play tough games. So, the first couple of weeks, we took some lumps. We got beat in some close games and got beat by some quality teams. Then, the switched flipped. We won a couple of close games and now, we’re on a roll.”
Mount Vernon punctuated its emergence by winning its Mustang Classic Sept. 13 and 14, beating Westminster 6-5, North Springs 11-2 and Aquinas 20-11.
“It was really satisfying,” Edmonson said. “Aquinas is a team that was a state qualifier last year and they’re ranked ahead of us in the power rankings, so winning that game was a big boost for our chances of making it to state. It just showed us that we belong among the top teams in the state and that we can compete with anybody.”
Mount Vernon has been boosted by a strong group of experienced underclassmen who have honed their skills playing travel ball.
“We’ve got five sophomores and four freshmen and they’re really coming on strong,” Edmonson said. “There’s a lot of experience in that group of youngsters, a lot of travel ball. We may play 35 games in our season, but these guys have played in the spring and summer. They’ve played an additional 70 to 80 games.”
Sophomore shortstop Lauren Daniel, sophomore pitcher Helen Hudgens, freshman third baseman Mia Whitney and freshman pitcher Brittany Whitstine lead the talented core of underclassmen.
The Lady Mustangs also have a group of seniors providing veteran leadership in infielders Addie Goins and Amelia Kohl and catcher Ally Schnetzer.