XENIA —If the Xenia Scouts play the other 39 regular season games like they did on Thursday night, they’re going to have a fun season.
With solid pitching and timely hitting, Xenia won its Summer Collegiate Baseball League season opener 6-1 over the Grand Lake Mariners, at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action athletic complex.
Scouts starter Luke Daugherty struck out 12 Mariners and gave up just three hits over the game’s first seven innings of play. Then Aaron Alexander came in and fanned four more Mariners over the final two innings.
First-year Scouts coach Bobby Randall was impressed with Daugherty’s debut.
“All I can say is ‘Wow.’” Randall said. “You don’t pitch better than that on the first time out. I know he had a great Spring season, but you can never plan for that. That was better than expected, that’s for sure.”
Daughterty said he felt good on the mound from the very start.
“Being the first time out, I just wanted to throw a lot of strikes and get into a zone with the guys,” he said. “It turned out well. Usually if you can stay in the zone, and don’t give up a lot of walks, it can lead to a good outcome.”
He struck out the side in the first and third innings. And when Grand Lake’s Brandon Estep hit a soft fly ball into centerfield to break up any thoughts of a no-hit bid, his Mariner teammates erupted as if Estep had hit a home run. Grand Lake’s three hits were the only three balls that reached Xenia’s outfielders all day long.
Meanwhile, the Scouts’ Joe Gregory scored from second on Tyler Haute’s two-out single to left field in the second inning to give Xenia the lead. The Scouts extended their lead in the sixth when Tad Sobieszcanski, Gregory and Tyler Krahn all scored.
Gregory drove in Sobieszcanski in the seventh with a run, and then leadoff hitter Isaac Holt doubled home Andrew Carrillo with the team’s sixth run in the eighth inning.
Unofficially, Holt went 2-for-5 at the plate with his double and two runs batted in. Gregory went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI, and Krahn also went 2-for-3, scored a run, drove in another and reached when he was hit by a pitch.
The 2014 edition of Xenia Scouts baseball has only been together since Monday, so when he was asked to describe this season’s team, Randall had to chuckle.
“Heck, I don’t even know my lineup yet!” he said with a laugh. “We’re still learning names and getting to know each other. We’re just going to take things one game at a team and shoot to be even better at the end of the year. But yeah, this is a really good way to start.”
The two teams return to Grady’s Field tonight for another 7:05 p.m. game, and the coach would like to see the Xenia community come out and support the team.
Randall recalled some of his pro baseball coaching days, and said there’d be some days they’d have 8,000 people in the stands.
“Back then, I told another coach, ‘You know, if they knew the guys on this team, they might not come and watch us play.’ But that’s not the case with this team. We’ve got the kind of guys that fans should come and watch,” Randall said.