By John Bombatch
XENIA — The host Xenia Scouts took advantage of a handful of Lake Erie Monarchs errors, and parlayed that into an 8-4 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League win, Tuesday night at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex.
Lake Erie got on the scoreboard first when Blake Benefield launched a solo home run over the left center field fence. Benefield ultimately was the only Monarchs player to have multiple hits in the game. He smacked a ground-rule double to left in the sixth inning that scored teammate C.J. Huntley. And Huntley had hit a ground-rule double just ahead of Benefield.
But the Monarchs’ lead was short lived. Xenia sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, and Lake Erie coughed up four errors in the inning to enable the Scouts to jump ahead for good, 6-1.
Xenia lead-off batter Ryan O’Hearn used his head twice to tack on an insurance run in the fourth inning. The Scouts lead-off hitter was hit on the batting helmet with a pitch to get on base. He then went to third on Adrian Marquez’s single into centerfield, but O’Hearn saw the center fielder make a casual throw to the infield and raced around third to score.
Jeremy Barth then scored Xenia’s final run when Caleb Bloye hit a sacrifice fly into deep right field.
“That’s an exciting part of the game, when you have a guy make a heads-up play and take an extra base like that and score,” Xenia Scouts manager Bubba Cates said. “It brings a little more energy to your team, and I think it definitely did that tonight.”
Lake Erie coach John DeSana planned on discussing the errors with his team. He said a couple calls by the umpiring crew may have turned the games’ momentum Xenia’s way as well.
“There were a couple questionable calls out there (one double play was nullified when the infield ump said the second baseman pulled his foot, another came when DeSana thought his right fielder had thrown out a Scouts runner who made a wide turn at first), but you can’t expect to win many ball games when you make five errors. We’ve gotta fix that before (today’s) game,” DeSana said.
Xenia starter Jorge Lozano, a red-shirt freshman on the Wright State University team, limited Lake Erie to four hits over the first six innings and recorded the win. Jacob Chrysler came into the game in the seventh inning and no-hit the Monarchs the rest of the way.
Cates said his Xenia team might be starting to gel a bit more. He wasn’t sure if the momentum from a weekend two-game road sweep in Athens had carried over to Tuesday’s game, but he wasn’t complaining about it either.
“Yesterday had been our first day off in a while. We had played eight straight days, so it’s getting to be businesslike around here,” Scouts manager Bubba Cates said. “It’s hard to get to a high level and stay at that level. The pro guys might be able to, but these are college guys. We got a little energy in that six-run inning where we made some really good base running plays, and I think our guys fed off of that tonight.”
Xenia has now won three straight ball games and five of their last seven.
As long as Mother Nature cooperates, the two teams are scheduled to play at 7:05 p.m. today at Grady’s Field. The two managers conferred immediately after the game about any possible contingency plans, because of the impending weather. Cates said that, depending on what the forecast says on Wednesday morning, there’s a possibility that today’s game time might be moved up in order to beat the weather.