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Scouts fall to Settlers, 6-5

Scouts fall to Settlers, 6-5

By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer

 July 2, 2018


XENIA- Luke Boylson is a 6-foot-1, 210 lb. slugger, who had only patrolled left field for the Xenia Scouts before Sunday’s game. In the late innings of a 6-5 loss to the Licking County Settlers, he became Luke Boylson, the pitcher.


He hadn’t pitched since since last summer, in a league that was not as competitive as the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Although he’s not a pitcher, he was willing to take the mound when his team needed him, and he didn’t feel out of place.


“Honestly it felt normal,” said Boylson. “The idea of pitching is a funny thought, but once you get up there you try and do everything you can to help your team.”


Scouts manager Bubba Cates was forced to have a position player pitch for the second game in a row due to the limited staff he has had to work with throughout the summer. He knew going into the game that starter Tom Fleser was the only member of the pitching staff that could toe the rubber, with everyone else either resting or battling an injury.


Fleser threw six innings, giving up seven hits and four runs while striking out six before Cates had to turn to his bullpen. Or rather, his outfield.


Boylson found himself on the mound after promising Cates that he would be able to throw strikes, and if nothing else, he delivered on this promise, walking only two batters in three innings of work. “Luke assured me he could throw a little bit, and he did fine,” Cates said.


When Boylson took over, his team trailed 4-2. He was able to prevent the Licking County lead from growing, and the Scouts were still in the game. The Xenia offense had been rather quiet throughout the evening, but they were able to break through in the bottom of the eighth, as they pieced together three runs on four hits and took a one-run lead on a sacrifice fly off the bat of right fielder Carson Wright.


That set the stage for Boylson to try to slam the door, yet he had to work through the heart of the Settler lineup to do so. He induced a flyout on the first pitch of the inning, but that was where the outfielder’s outing took a turn for the worse. He surrendered back-to-back home runs, propelling to the Settlers to the lead and the victory.


“We get the first out on the first pitch, and we got ‘em,” exclaimed Cates. “And then ‘bang, bang’ and we’re one run down. I did tell him when I went to the mound, ‘we’re just one run down, now we were two runs down last inning and we caught them, so don’t worry about that, let’s just get these guys out.’”


Boylson recorded the final two outs of the inning, but the Scouts could play catch-up no more. Center fielder Chandler Chambers led off with a bunt single, but the next three Scouts were the last three outs.


Being the competitor that he is, Boylson was hard on himself, despite the infrequency of his time on the mound. “I thought I could have been better,” he said.


When asked if his pitching career was over, Boylson said that is to be determined. “Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point again, but if Coach Cates needs me, I’d be willing to give it my best shot.”


The Scouts are now 8-11, nearly half way through their season. Cates is looking forward to having some consistency in the second half. He will be adding another pitcher to the staff, a guy who just finished pitching for the Athletes in Action international team. He also believes that Will Wentz, who is currently injured, will be able to pitch consistently again soon.


Xenia is currently fourth in the GLSCL Southern Division, certainly still in playoff contention.


“In the other years, we’ve been pretty good the second half,” Cates said. “We have been in the mix to get in the playoffs, and we’ve done some things that have pushed us forward and put us there.”


Whether they make the playoffs or not, Cates has expressed a multitude of times that the main thing he is concerned with is that his players are better when they leave Xenia than they were when they arrived, and he believes that they will be.


As for the loss on Sunday night, he isn’t frustrated. In fact, he embraces it.


“That’s the beauty of the game.”