By John Bombatch
XENIA — Visiting Hamilton scored twice in the 10th inning to claim a 5-3 win in the deciding game of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League playoffs, ending the Xenia Scouts’ season.
A slow roller to Xenia shortstop Aaron Valance bought just enough time for Hamilton pinch hitter Mason Deanna to safely reach first, and score Joes teammate Bryson Shelton with the go-ahead run.
Sam Teague then drew a bases loaded walk to score Joes teammate Tyler Thamann with the fifth Hamilton run.
Xenia’s Colt Wolfe led off the bottom half of the 10th with a slow-rolling infield single to third, but the next Scouts batter hit into a double play. Ryan O’Hearn singled just past second base to keep the Scouts’ hopes alive, but the Joes snared a fly ball to first to end the game.
The game got off to a slow start when the first pitch was delayed by 26 minutes due to heavy rain.
Hamilton grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the second inning with an RBI single by league Most Valuable Player Ben Spitznagel and an infield groundout by Tyler Friis.
Xenia shrank the Joes’ lead in the bottom of the second when Cary Holloway was plunked with a pitch with the bases loaded. That scored Wolfe from third. Xenia couldn’t plate anyone else, however.
The Joes expanded the lead to 3-1 when Spitznagel beat out an inside grounder for the second time of the game, moved to second on Friis’ single to left, got to third on an inside groundout, and then scored on a wild pitch.
But once again, Xenia (28-17) responded.
This time, Adrian Marquez scored on Jeremy Barth’s RBI single into left field to make the score, 3-2, after five innings of play.
An inning later, peedster Ryan O’Hearn then made the base running play of the night to enable the Scouts to even the score at 3-all. O’Hearn got on base by drawing a walk. He stole second base to get into scoring position, then stole third. But the Hillsdale College junior center fielder’s speed forced the Hamilton catcher into a bad throw.
As the ball rolled into left field, O’Hearn raced home with the tying score.
Both teams threatened late in the game, but both teams left the potential go-ahead runs perched on third base. Hamilton stranded Jackson Boyce at third in the eighth; Xenia’s Marquez was left at third in the seventh, and Caleb Bloye was left at third in the eighth as well.
Perhaps the oddest statistic of the contest: Xenia batters were hit by pitches five times.
Hamilton will play at 7:05 today against the Lima Locos at Simmons Field in the first game of the best-of-5 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League Championship Series.