XENIA — The Xenia Scouts are in the Lake Erie Summer Collegiate League baseball playoffs. But until they play their final two regular season games — today and Sunday on the road against the Galion Graders — they won’t know who they’ll play, or where they’ll finish in the standings.
Scouts manager Bubba Cates knows that two wins in Galion would cement Xenia in third place in the GLSCL standings, earning them a home playoff play-in game on Wednesday. Lose both games, and Xenia could be looking to see where they’ll be playing on the road Wednesday.
“We’re 23-15, and I think the (Southern Ohio) Copperheads are 21-15, and somebody (Lake Erie Monarchs) is right behind them at 20-15. So it’ll be interesting,” Cates said by phone on Friday. “The Copperheads beat us three times this season, so if we tie in the final standings, they would earn the higher seed. So we’ve gotta stay ahead of them.
“Everybody’s capable of beating everybody else in this league, … and Galion’s been playing better, too. It’ll be an interesting race, just like you want it to be.”
Southern Ohio has three games yet to play, including two on the road against second-place Hamilton.
Lake Erie has four games still on its schedule, and three of those are against first-place Lima.
Xenia plays tonight and Sunday night at 7:05 p.m. at Galion’s Heise Park field. The Scouts have won their last five games and seven of their last 10, but their last game was back on July 18. The league took some time off for last week’s GLSCL All-Star Game, where pitchers Ben Aldridge, Quentin McGrath and John Crawford, and infielders David Gauntt, Kyle Carnahan and Lee Solomon helped guide the Red team to a 6-0 win, but tonight’s game will be the first action since then. That’s not a worry for Cates.
“We had practices today and yesterday, but besides that our guys have been helping out with vacation bible school classes at Emmanuel Baptist Church this week. … You worry about whether having a 5-6 day break will make it tough for the players to get back into a game situation, but I think it’s been kind of refreshing for our guys. We just finished playing seven games in six days, so this time off has been an energizing time for us. I think it’s been good for us,” Cates said.
The longtime University of Tennessee-Martin baseball coach plans on using a lot of arms in tonight’s and Sunday’s games against the Graders. Fans can expect to see All-Stars McGrath and Aldridge throwing in Saturday’s game, with relievers Joe Chasen, Tom Waning and Tony Campbell also seeing possible action.
Saturday’s game should see Dylan Donley and William Kruse in the early innings with “most of the other relievers” out there in the late innings as well, according to Cates.
One thing the almost week-long break hasn’t done is made the Scouts healthy, especially in the outfield. Miles Wright fouled a ball off his foot last Saturday, and was diagnosed after the game with a break in that same foot. Cates said another outfielder injured himself in Friday’s practice and likely won’t see action against Galion this weekend.
“We still have enough. All our pitchers are going to work (this weekend), and we’re going to get everybody in decent shape and prepared for a good playoff run,” he said.