XENIA — After coming off a 7-6 loss to the Hamilton Joes, Tuesday night at Athlete in Action’s Grady’s Field, the Xenia Scouts needed to rebound quick before a rematch Wednesday.
“Last night was pretty tough. Going into the ninth, having a lead, and losing it off of a three-run home run. That’s always tough,” said Scouts pitcher Dylan Donley. “I think that even then, we didn’t lose confidence. We got a guy in scoring position, two bases away from tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. So I think we bounced back there and today was business as usual.”
But after keeping the game close through seven innings, the Joes blew things wide open, scoring four runs in the top of the eighth on their way to a 9-3 victory.
Scouts pitcher Joey Leavitt said that he is more used to close games.
“It seems like all our games are coming down to the ninth inning, so I don’t think it’s really affecting us as much as it would other people. Whether we win or lose, it seems like it always comes down to the ninth innings and I think we’re pretty comfortable in those situations.”
Wednesday night’s loss marks the first time the Scouts have lost back-to-back games in the season. Before the night began, they were tied for second with Hamilton in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, a half a game behind the first-place Southern Ohio Copperheads.
“They felt (the sting of losing) a little bit last night and that’s a good thing. That tells you that you’re going in the right direction. They’re getting used to winning. When you don’t win, it stays with you a little bit,” said coach Bubba Cates before the game.
Cates said the players are adjusting to the amount of games played. Xenia is also dealing with some injuries in on the roster.
“We’re just a little bit thin with people, dealing with a couple injuries, and we’re asking a little bit more out of our guys. They’ve responded.”
Benjamin Aldridge started Wednesday night’s game. Cates said he needs his starters to have strong games in order to allow some of his players to heal up.
“He’s had a good summer. He’s a relief pitcher at (University of Arkansas Monticello). He was throwing so well in relief that we worked him in as a starter, where we needed him. Most of his work has been in relief, but he’s been pitching well as a starter.”
Aldridge pitched for six innings, giving up five hits and four runs. He walked four batters and struck out four. Donley pitched relief, giving up two hits and a run while striking out two.
The Scouts play the Galion Graders on the road at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Heise Park. They return home with the Graders, 7:05 p.m. Sunday at Grady’s Field.
Donley said the team will rely on its faith to rebound.
“We play our hardest for the Lord and I think that helps us come back from tough losses like that and it helps us bounce back,” he said before Wednesday’s game. “Even after (Tuesday night’s] game, we came back to the field after eating and we were all in good spirits.”