XENIA — The Scouts finally got the monkey that is the Hamilton Joes off their back.
After losing four regular season games and the first game of the postseason series against the Joes, Xenia finally got over the hump. They beat Hamilton 6-3 Friday night at Grady’s Field in Xenia to even up the series at one game a piece.
Things started off sketchy for the Scouts when Hamilton leadoff hitter Daniel Neff got on base with a single ripped up the middle. He later scored on a sacrifice fly from Kevin Dupree.
But Xenia bounced back in the bottom half of the inning when Austin Orr bunted to get on and was brought home by a double from the ensuing batter, Kyle Carnahan.
Xenia manager Bubba Cates said it was another case of players stepping up to fill roles for the team.
“They played like champions today. We came in ready to play. We had a good day, and our preparation has been good all along. It’s been tough on us, because we’ve had to inter-mingle some guys (because of injuries). Austin played some second for us today because Christian (Binger) is gone,” he said. “Austin’s hit for us a lot this summer, and he was playing shortstop for us before his arm got hurt to where we had to rehab his arm. But we were counting on him to take the field for us when Christian left. He played great, and scored our first run … But that’s been like that for us this season..”
Levi Gilcrease and Lincoln Reed each scored two runs for the Scouts in the game. In the bottom of the third, Gilcrease hit a ground-rule double out to center field with the bases loaded. He scored David Gauntt and Cale Giddings and advanced Reed to third. Reed then scored on a wild pitch to give the Scouts a 4-1 lead.
“We’ve gotta be able to bunch (our hits) a little bit, and we did that. Levi got a big double, and some good things had happened in that inning already,” said Cates.
Hamilton’s Jake Simmerman responded with a beefy solo home run in the top of the fourth before Reed drove home two more runs for Xenia in the bottom of the fifth. After Carnahan and Gauntt each got on base with a single, Reed ripped a drive down the right field line to score the two baserunners.
“Lincoln! He had a great day today, and boy that’s just great to see. He’s done so much, and he just came up in some big spots tonight and got some big hits. It’s just been fun,” said Cates.
John Crawford started the game for Xenia and lasted through eight innings, a valuable feat for a team dealing with injuries. Crawford gave up the two runs on four hits. He walked four batters and struck out six.
Cates said he was impressed with his pitcher.
“It was masterful. He was great. He had a tough first inning, but we don’t see Johnny enough to recognize him sometimes when he’ out there. But when he shows up, he really shows up. Again today, he was great,” he said.
“And that’s a great hitting team. They’ve had a good summer and he just nailed them.”
Game three of the series will be held at 7:05 p.m. today at Foundation Field in Hamilton.
Reach Zach Gregory at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2124.