XENIA — For the second straight game, the Xenia Scouts fell behind early then exploded for 14 runs to claim a win. This time, the explosion occurred in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League’s play-in game, Wednesday night against the sixth-seeded Grand Lake Mariners.
Xenia fell behind 2-0 after two innings of play, then took the lead in the third and pulled away for a convincing 14-2 win on Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex.
“We’re getting down to the end of the season for everybody. They’re a little depleted like we are,” said Xenia manager Bubba Cates. “I think our pitching staff is a little bit fresher today than they are, and that’s how we managed. We caught them on a fortunate night.”
The Scouts (25-16) ended their regular season with a 14-7 road win Sunday over the Galion Graders to clinch the third seed in the post-season tournament.
In Wednesday’s play-in game, every Scouts batter reached base at least once.
Christian Binger took over the lead-off position in place of Lee Solomon who missed the game due to a family commitment. Binger picked up where the speedy Solomon left off. He went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, walked four times, knocked in three runs and scored three others.
Sinclair Community College sophomore Jacob McJilton played shortstop for the Scouts. He went 3-for-3 with two sacrifice bunts and scored twice.
David Gauntt showed once again why he’s one of the league’s top clutch hitters with runners on base. With the bases loaded, Gauntt tripled to score Binger, McJilton and Johnny Bravo as part of a five-run seventh inning
Quentin McGrath, Benjamin Aldridge and Tom Waning pitched for the Scouts.
Grand Lake pitchers gave up 12 walks in the game.
The defending league champion Licking County Settlers defeated the fourth-seeded Southern Ohio Copperheads, 6-3, in the night’s other GLSCL play-in game. Licking County (22-17) will now head north to take on top-seeded regular season champion Lima (28-7), on the Locos’ home field, in the other best-of-three opening playoff series.
Xenia heads south to play the second-seeded Hamilton Joes (24-11) at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Foundation Field, in the first game of their best-of-three playoff series. The two teams will then play on the Scouts’ Grady’s Field on Friday.
“We’ve had some good games against them. They’re awful talented, but we’ve played well against them,” said Cates. “Our guys are excited to be able to play some more and stay together for a few more days. Me too.”
If necessary, Game 3 will be held back down in Hamilton.
Reach John Bombatch at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.