By John Bombatch
XENIA — For the second straight night, the host Xenia Scouts scored a bunch of runs in the early going against the visiting Lake Erie Monarchs and made it stick.
On Tuesday night, the Scouts took advantage of a handful of Monarch errors to score six runs in the second inning of an 8-4 win.
Wednesday night, Xenia parlayed six consecutive first-inning hits into five runs for an eventual 8-1 win.
Donald King, Jeremy Barth and Evan McDonald each singled with one out in the inning. Then Chandler Adkins singled to center field to bring home King and Barth. Adrian Marquez then cleared the bases of Scouts runners by launching a three-run home run, scoring himself, McDonald and Adkins to make it 5-0 in Xenia’s favor. Then Colt Wolfe hit the next hit to make it six in a row.
“You just don’t see six straight hits in an inning like that,” Xenia manager Bubba Cates said. “And we had a home run in there, and hopefully when you get a home run it happens a little later in the inning when you’ve got guys out there on base. And we did.”
And while the Scouts were knocking the ball around the Grady’s Field synthetic turf, Lake Erie was having troubles just getting a hit. Xenia starter Kyle Brunner was making his first start of the season, after recovering from an injury.
Brunner appears to be healthy.
He limited Lake Erie to one hit — Ross Haffey’s solo home run in the second — through five innings of work. Sinclair Community College reliever Nick Cecil then came in and held the Monarchs to one other hit the rest of the way.
“That first inning, we go down by five runs and put us in a hole, and then we just didn’t hit the ball,” Lake Erie manager Jim DeSana said. “I think their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off balance. He didn’t throw it hard, but he was finding the right spots. You’ve gotta hand it to the pitchers whenever they can hold you to just two hits, for sure.”
The middle of Xenia’s lineup, the baseball mashing law firm of Barth, McDonald, Adkins & Marquez, batted .452 (14-for-31) in the two-game series.
And when a Scout wasn’t giving the Monarchs fits at the plate or on the mound, they were getting the job done in the field.
Third baseman Adkins robbed Blake Benefield of a hit to left with a diving catch in the fourth inning.
Second sacker Cary Holloway leapt high to snare a Sammy Stevens liner to right for an out in the fifth, and first baseman Wolfe almost dove into the Lake Erie dugout to catch C.J. Huntley’s foul ball.
Wolfe’s teammates then razzed Wolfe for somehow not being able to dive over the fence, and 20 yards beyond the bullpen, to catch the next foul ball hit his way.
Adkins later drove in Donald Ring with a run in the second, then Barth and Marquez each scored solo runs in the sixth and seventh respectively for Xenia’s other scores of the night.
“I thought those extra runs were pretty important tonight,” Cates said. “Because whatever light you might think your team has left, that’s kinda dimming it right there.”
Lake Erie falls to 5-11 in the GLSCL’s North Division. They won’t see the Scouts again in the regular season.
The Scouts (9-6 in the GLSCL South) have now won four straight, which is the second-longest current winning streak in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. The North Division-leading Lima Locos have won eight straight.
Xenia heads to Richmond, Indiana’s McBride Stadium to take on the Jazz for a two-game series. Today’s June 23 game is set to start at 7:05 p.m.