Although it may not be more than two games, any time a team can start a winning streak is a sign that things are going in the right direction
By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer
June 17, 2018
XENIA- Although it may not be more than two games, any time a team can start a winning streak is a sign that things are going in the right direction.
The Xenia Scouts were able to string together a pair of wins for the first time in the 2018 season as they defeated the Hamilton Joes at home on Saturday night, by a final score of 8-6.
The first win of the set was a 12-9 victory over the Galion Graders in Galion. It was a marathon 3 1/2 hour game in which both starting pitchers struggled mightily with control and neither team played very clean baseball.
Saturday night was a different story, as the game seemed to fly by, lasting just under three hours. Both starting pitchers were able to work quickly, and there were few defensive errors. It was an impressive game for both teams, based on the high standards of which the game was played, which makes the win even sweeter for Scouts manager Bubba Cates.
"That game played a little differently than last night," said Cates. "Last night was a little messy, and this was a lot cleaner, and I thought a better win. We played well, we did really well."
The Xenia offense exploded on Saturday, as they were able to score eight runs on 15 hits, including a three-run home run from first baseman Felix King and a solo shot by center fielder Cam Murray. Opposed to Friday night's affair in which they stole 10 bases and were forced to create runs on the basepaths, they thrived offensively based solely on their ability to accrue base hits and drive the ball over the fence.
"Again, it was a little different than last night," said Cates. "We stole a lot of bases last night, created some runs that way. We had a big three-run homer tonight, and then the solo home run was big because it pushes the lead out from two to three and makes it harder for them to catch us. Both of those were big home runs, and you don't really expect those things, just like you don't expect 10 stolen bases. But it's fun to watch, and it's good to see."
Ryan Moeller was on the mound for the Scouts, and he was able to turn in a solid outing. He went 5 2/3 innings, while giving up four runs on four hits, walking six, hitting two batters, and striking two out. He gave up one of his four runs in the first inning, as it became the sixth game in a row that Scouts starting pitching has given up a run in the opening frame.
The Joes led 4-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth, when Xenia's offense rallied to take the lead. It started with singles from Murray and right fielder Carter Boswell. After third baseman Dugan Darnell drew a walk, designated hitter Ryan Bertelsman, the Scouts' hottest bat currently, was up with a chance to tie the game, and he did just that. He hit a sharp single, allowing speedsters Murray and Boswell to score, and the game was tied at four.
Just a few batters later, King was up with men on first and second, and wasted no time breaking the game wide open. He hit an 0-1 pitch high and deep into the summer sky, a no-doubt home run, and as he finished his trot around the bases the scoreboard read 7-4, in favor of the Scouts.
"I was just thinking about hitting the ball gap-to-gap," said King. "I was thinking about seeing the ball deep, making sure I'm staying balance, and just keeping a cool head, not trying to do too much, and just putting the ball in play in between some people."
King also had an RBI single in the first inning, finishing with an impressive four runs batted in. Murray had a big night, going 3-4 with a walk and a stolen base and that solo home run. Boswell had two hits, as did Bertelsman, who had two RBI to go with it. Left fielder Luke Boylson had two singles and an RBI. Every player in the Scouts lineup had a hit except for Dugan Darnell, but he still managed to reach base thrice on two walks and a fielder's choice.
"After a string of losses, I think it's been great," said King about his team's successes as of late. "We're seeing the ball well as a team, we're getting a lot of confidence, and I'm excited to see what we have in the future."
With the win, the Scouts improve to 3-4, while the Joes fall to 2-4 on the year. The season series between these two teams becomes 2-1, in favor of the Joes, but the Scouts will have an opportunity to tie it up and reach an even record for the first time in 2018.
"We just have to go in hungry," said King. "We're looking for a victory at all times, so you know, I think we come back, and come back aggressive. We're looking to jump on their pitchers and get into their bullpen, that's our approach to being aggressive."