By John Bombatch
XENIA — Zach Wyatt yelled again, but it took a little longer than last time for the Xenia Scouts’ bats to finally awaken from their lengthy six-game slumber.
Wyatt screamed at the bats in the fifth inning, Xenia scored seven runs in the rain-soaked seventh inning, and the Scouts killed a six-game losing streak with an eventual 7-1 win over the visiting Licking County Settlers, Tuesday night at Grady’s Field on the Athletes in Action Complex.
Miles Wright opened the inning with a single into left. But rather than coast into first, Wright kicked into another running gear and the St. Edwards University speedster dove safely head first into second for a lead-off double. Levi Gilcrease was next up, and the Baylor University product singled to left on the first pitch he saw from reliever Devin Carr, who had just come into the game in the seventh. Wright scored on the hit.
The Scouts were not done scoring, however.
Jordan Shaffer hustled down to first base and caused a throwing error on a nifty bunt down the third-base line. Lee Solomon then walked, Gilcrease scored on a wild pitch, Shaffer lumbered home to score on Christian Binger’s RBI single into center, then with one out David Gauntt was hit with a pitch and Cale Giddings drew a walk to load the bases.
After Lincoln Reed scored Gaunt on a sacrifice fly to deep right field, the Licking County Settlers went with David Carr as their pitcher. Wright responded to the pitching change by smacking his second hit of the inning and driving in Giddings with the Scouts’ seventh run of the inning.
All told, Solomon, Binger, Gauntt, Giddings, Wright, Gilcrease and Shaffer each scored in the inning.
Xenia smacked five hits, capitalized on three wild pitches and a hit batsman, and walked twice.
Defending Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League champion Licking County (11-14) responded with a run of its own in the top of the eighth inning, when Kyle Holbrook singled home Michael Ketchmark from second, but the Settlers couldn’t close the gap any further.
Wright walked, doubled, singled and scored a run for the Scouts, now 15-12 and happily rid of the losing streak.
Settlers starting pitcher Brayden Bouchey probably deserved a better fate. He had held Xenia to one hit through six innings of solid work, but his pitch count was high and so manager Joe Noro opted to pull him out of the game.
Xenia’s Wyatt had performed a similar “Wake up, bats!” routine a couple weeks ago and the Scouts ultimately won that contest. This time, Wyatt’s encouragement seemed to have its effect on the Xenia bats an inning later than hoped.
The two teams will play again today at Grady’s Field in Xenia with another 7:05 p.m. start.