XENIA — In its most successful season since winning the North Division three years ago, the Xenia Scouts’ 2019 season in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League ended July 23 with a road loss in Hamilton.
Despite ultimately finishing with a losing record of 18-24, the Scouts won their most games since they won the GLSCL North in 2016. They won 27 games and battled in the postseason playoffs back then.
With roughly three weeks left to play in the season, Xenia found itself battling with Licking County, Cincinnati, Southern Ohio and Hamilton for first place in the North Division. At the time, the Scouts were a game and a half out of first place. A tough finishing stretch kept Xenia out of the playoffs, however, as the team lost eight of its last nine contests, including its final five.
Xenia had three players represent the team in the GLSCL All-Star game: Wayne State University junior third baseman Hunter DeLanoy; Hillsdale College do-everything player Cody Kanclerz (he pitched and played third base); and Western Nebraska CC sophomore righty pitcher Garrett DeClue.
DeLanoy led Xenia in triples (four), walks (32), sacrifice flies (four) and runs scored (35), and struck out the fewest times among regular starters with just 18. Kanclerz finished the year tied with Steven Saunders and Northwood University catcher Rhett Gipe for the team lead in homers with three.
The Scouts had plenty of offensive weapons, but occasional injuries would limit just how many of those weapons manager Victor “Bubba” Cates could throw into the lineup each night.
In 15 games, Auburn’s Jarrett Eaton had a .358 batting average before being sidelined. Among starting regulars, Whitman College senior infielder Brett Williams led the team in average at .303, had the most hits (46), most at-bats (152) and stole the most bases (15). Olivet Nazarene freshman Logan Matson played all but one of the Scouts’ 42 games to lead the team in that category. He and Auburn’s Jackson Henderson led the team in times hit by pitches, too, with seven.
Saunders, from Cochise College, tied for most homers and led the team in doubles (16), runs batted in (32) and sacrifice flies (four).
DeClue led the Xenia pitching staff in innings pitched with 52.2 and tied with Christopher Hammond in pitching wins with three. Hammond turned in the team’s most complete games (two) and also recorded the most strike outs (38).
Cedarville University senior Riley Landrum saw the most work on the Scouts staff, throwing middle relief in 17 games. Xenia closer Jared Couch, of Houghton College, recorded three saves to lead the team.
Playoffs Begin: With the conclusion of the regular season on Tuesday night, the four GLSCL playoff teams were determined. While the North division top seeded Lima Locos (26-15) and no. 2-seeded Muskegon Clippers (22-19) were determined earlier in the week, the two seeds for the GLSCL South came down to the final evening of the season.
The Licking County Settlers earned the top seed with a final-game win to finish at 25-17, with the Cincinnati Steam edging the defending GLSCL champion Southern Ohio Copperheads by a half game for the second seed with a 24-18 record. The Copperheads finished the season at 23-18, and fourth-place Hamilton was just a game out of the playoffs with a 22-18 mark. Xenia finished fifth in the division, seven games back.
The North and South divisional foes begin best-of-three playoff competition on Wednesday, July 25, with Muskegon playing at Lima for the North title, while Cincinnati is at Licking County in the South. Both games are set for a 7:05 p.m. start.
Wednesday’s visiting teams will then host games on Thursday, before returning to Lima and Licking County on Friday. The winners will then face each other in the best-of-three championship series with the first game to be held at the lowest seed’s ball park. The final two championship games will then be held on the higher seed’s field.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.