Scouts earn first win of season, beat Locos 8-7
Scouts earn first win of season, beat Locos 8-7
By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer
June 14, 2018
XENIA- The Xenia Scouts officially have their first win of the 2018 season under their belt.
After a 24-9 blowout loss to the Lima Locos on Tuesday, they returned to Grady’s Field in Xenia to face off against them again on Wednesday, where they managed to secure an 8-7 win, their first of the young campaign.
“We took a tough loss last night,” said Scouts manager Bubba Cates. “That’s what makes winning tonight even better. And even with the loss last night, we were down 4-0 at one time tonight before our game-tying inning. When you’re in competition, you want that other guy to feel like there was a real competitor on the other side. Win or lose, they would have felt that tonight, so that was a good ballgame, much better than last night.”
Despite letting the Locos jump out to the aforementioned 4-0 lead, starting pitcher Caleb Eder turned in a brilliant start on the mound for the Scouts. He tossed 6 2/3 innings, while giving up only five hits and surrendering four runs, one of those being unearned. It was the longest outing for a Scouts starting pitcher this season, and the first time a starter has pitched into the fourth inning.
“I thought Caleb was really good tonight,” said Cates. “That really helps us, when we can stretch a guy out like that, it helps us conserve pitching for the rest of the week. But we were ready to get him out of the ballgame in the fifth inning, then the sixth inning, then the seventh inning, and we were preparing for those things, but he looked like he was throwing better as the ballgame went on. So he probably just fell into one of those grooves that we all like to get in.”
Eder’s only true fault on the mound on Wednesday was his control. He allowed five walks on the night, and consequently two of these runners were able to come around and score. It was a wild pitch in the first inning that allowed a Lima runner to score from third, and take a 1-0 lead. However, Eder managed to settle in after the third inning, only walking one from there on out, and facing the minimum in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
“It’s been a while since I’ve thrown off a mound,” said Eder, who also plays first base for the Scouts when he isn’t pitching. “It’s just been rough, trying to get back out there, trying to break the rust off. But I think you can see where that happened, after the third inning, I was like ‘the rust is gone, I’m here, this is how I usually throw.’”
After the Lima exploded for 24 runs and 23 hits against Xenia pitching on Wednesday, it was a seemingly tall task for any pitcher to challenge and defeat their lineup. However, Eder was not intimidated by the Locos.
“Oh man, I love that stuff,” said Eder. “That’s what I live for. In the school year, I know exactly who the good teams are, and I basically ask my coach, ‘you’ve got to get me in one of these games if we want to win one,’ so once I saw that last night I knew I needed to throw tonight because this was a game that I would thrive in, and that’s exactly what happened.”
After Eder let the Locos secure an early lead, the Scouts offense was tasked with clawing away at the deficit and getting back into the game. They did just that, as they scored four runs in the bottom of the third to even the score and create a brand new ballgame.
“For the first four games that I’ve been around this team, they have shown a lot of courage,” Eder said. “They’ve been able to go out and put up some runs, and it doesn’t really matter what happens. We’re just good at stringing runs together, it doesn’t matter what the score is at the time, we just treat it like it’s 0-0 and we’re always still trying to score another run.”
While the Scouts managed to score eight runs on the night, they came on only four hits. However, they were able to manufacture these runs using aggressive baserunning, stealing three bases on the night and taking advantage of five Lima errors. They were able to take a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning after executing a brilliant squeeze play, when Scouts left fielder Chandler Chambers laid down a perfect bunt, allowing Noah Orlando to speed across the plate and score from third.
“I like the aggressive style anyways, but we have guys that fit that mold,” Cates said. “Most of our outfielders are runners, and we have some in the infield that can do the same. Most of our outfield, we’re playing those guys at the top of the order, those guys can run, and they’re creating things for us offensively. I’m kind of turning them loose, letting them make some decisions on their own, with me still helping them. So as long as we are playing this summer, I’m going to let those guys go. It’s fun, you know, it’s exciting. It’s an energy thing. If they’re running the bases hard, picking up extra bases, sometimes it bleeds over to everyone else.”
The Scouts will travel to Galion to face off against the undefeated Graders on Thursday, the first of a two-game series in which they will look to ride the momentum from Wednesday night’s win.