HAMILTON — After coming back from a three-run deficit, the Xenia Scouts lost to a familiar foe in a familiar way, Saturday night at Foundation Field.
The Hamilton Joes knocked the Xenia Scouts out of the postseason in walkoff fashion when Hunter Owen hit a single to center field to bring home Chad Jacob in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Joes won 6-5 to wrap up the three-game series.
The Xenia bats were hot out of the gate, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. But then Hamilton pitcher Zach Kendall, who entered the game in the second inning, shut the Scouts down for the next six innings.
After four innings, the Joes had built a 5-2 lead over Xenia.
Ben Aldridge came into the game to pitch relief for the Scouts in the bottom of the fourth inning. His pitching cooled the Hamilton bats and eventually let the Scouts back into the ballgame.
“Ben did a great job,” said Xenia manager Bubba Cates. “He’s put in some really good pitching for us all summer. We really have used him more than we should have, but he’s just very confident from the mound.”
Not much was happening for the Scouts offensively until the top of the eighth inning, when they scored three runs to tie the game up, 5-5. Joey Leavitt (who was pinch running for Cale Giddings) and Lincoln Reed scored runs to get within one run. Wyatt Hogan got home on a wild pitch to tie the game.
“We fought them. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy. We got up and then we got behind,” said Cates.
In the top of the ninth, Hamilton closer Chase Thurston gave up a single to Kyle Carnahan and two walks to load the bases with no outs. After a brief meeting at the mound, Thurston found his groove and struck out the next three Xenia batters.
Xenia returned the favor in the bottom of the ninth. Hamilton loaded the bases with just one out, but the Scouts’ defense stepped up and kept the Joes from scoring.
Both teams struggled to get much going offensively in extra innings, but Hamilton only needed two hits in the bottom of the 11th inning to win the game.
Cates and Hamilton manager Darrel Grissom talked about being part of such a tightly contested game.
“I guess you would feel bad if you gave one away. We didn’t give it away. They beat us,” said Cates. “We had the where we had it loaded up and there were some chances to go and take the lead, but they had the same thing in the same inning, and we shut them down.”
“That was something to be part of. I know it’s tough for them to lose. It was one of those games where somebody had to lose, but it was still fun to be in,” said Grissom. “The home team usually wins this game. You always want to be the home team in a dog fight.”
The Scouts (26-18) end a season where they earned a team-high in victories. They beat the Grand Lake Mariners in the play-in round to advance in the postseason.
Cates said he will always remember this group.
“I’m so proud of our guys. They played like champions.”