XENIA — Xenia won its seventh game in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League team’s last 10 games, and swept a home-and-home two-game series with the first-place Cincinnati Steam with Sunday’s 4-3 win July 2 at Grady’s Field.
The Scouts are now 11-9 roughly midway through the season. They’re in a tie with the Southern Ohio Copperheads and the Richmond (Ind.) Jazz for second place in the GLSCL’s Southern Division, just a half game behind Cincinnati.
Third-year Scouts manager Bubba Cates said pitching was a key in Sunday’s win.
“I was just telling the players, it’s nice to see all those zeroes up there on the scoreboard. (Cincinnati) had zeroes up there from the fifth inning on,” Cates said. “So in a tie ballgame, it’s nice to have that. We were able to get a lead, then we finished with zeroes. That always gives us a chance.
“Our guys threw really well today. They threw really well (Saturday, in a 3-2 win in Cincinnati), too. We haven’t been that consistent with our pitching in the early going, I think that’s been a difference for us. We’ve had some games where we had to outscore some people, but we’ve been playing pretty well lately.”
Ryan Mills of Olivet Nazarene University, Wright State’s Jorge Lozano and Oklahoma Wesleyan pitcher Landon Williams gave up a combined seven Steam hits in Sunday’s win. Mills gave up Cincinnati’s three earned runs, then Lozano and Williams put up all those zeroes the rest of the way.
Xenia had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second with runs scored by Kyle Casserly, Cady Owens and Aaron Takacs off in infield single by Francisco Ondina and doubles by Casserly and Dylan Lottinville.
But Cincinnati chipped away at the Scouts’ lead with a run by Xavier’s Roger Danison (on a balk) in the third, and then a pair of runs on four Steam hits in the fourth.
“For whatever reason, we just seemed flat today,” said Cincinnati coach Jimmy Brenneman. “But Xenia came up with some solid pitching, and they got the timely hits when they needed them. They’re playing well right now.”
The Scouts’ lead-off batter, Ondina, bashed what proved to be the winning run with a solo home run over the right field fence to give Xenia its fourth straight win.
“He’s an exciting player. He’s one that grows on you as you get through the summer,” Cates chuckled. “He plays really well in the field for us, and he’s usually hitting ninth in our lineup, but if you check his numbers out he scores a lotta runs (11) and gets a lot of walks (15). His average is not gonna look real good (.211), but he’s had some quality at-bats (12 hits in 57 plate appearances).
“You can see what kind of teammate he is, because you saw how excited everybody was when something good happened today for him.”
Xenia is back in action for 2:05 p.m. afternoon game on Tuesday, the Fourth of July. Including Tuesday’s contest with the Grand Lake Mariners (9-9), the Scouts have 21 games left to play this season. Thirteen of those will be played on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex’s Grady’s Field, in Xenia.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.