Scouts fall to Joes on Opening Day
Scouts fall to Joes on Opening Day
By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer
June 10, 2018
HAMILTON- Sometimes, the ultimate result of a sporting event is more than what the final score reflects.
The Xenia Scouts lost their Opening Day affair to the Hamilton Joes on Saturday night, dropping an 8-7 contest at Foundation Field in Hamilton, Ohio. Despite the fact that the game will go down in the loss column, there were many reasons for the Scouts to maintain a positive mindset.
Trailing 7-4 in the sixth inning, they were able to rally and put three runs on the board and tie the game. The inning was constructed by the Scouts’ plate discipline, as they were able to work the count to produce three walks in a row to load the bases, and they managed to score each of those three runners. Ryan Bertelsman recorded the only hit in the inning, but it was his RBI single that evened the score.
“All these guys are ballplayers,” said Bertelsman about the comeback. “You can tell everyone wants to win, and we’re definitely going to get our wins. Tonight we fell short, but it’s alright, we have tomorrow and we’re looking forward to that game.”
Not only did they streak together three runs in the sixth, they also came out of the gates hot, putting together a four-run top of the first, highlighted by a two-run double by first baseman Felix King.
“I think our guys came out ready to play,” said Xenia Scouts manager Bubba Cates. “We took advantage of some things there early.”
Caleb Eder got the Opening Day nod on the mound for the Scouts, and pitched well, but was limited to two innings. After a solid first inning, in which he only gave up a hit, he ran into a bit of trouble in the second. He gave up a towering first-pitch home run to Joes third baseman Adisyn Coffey, who is an Arizona State Sun Devil, one of the best college baseball programs in the country. After two hits and a walk, the Joes had the bases loaded with one out, but Eder forced a ground ball to his shortstop, Noah Orlando, who took it himself to complete the unassisted double play and preserve the lead.
It was one of a multitude of impressive plays by Orlando and the rest of the Scouts defense. “I thought we did some outstanding things defensively,” Cates said. “We made some great plays.”
Cates decided to use a pitch-by-committee approach with his staff throughout the game, using four different pitchers who threw for two innings each. After Eder, Ryan Moeller, Andrew Verbrugge, and Ben Bills all had their opportunity to pitch. As a staff, the Scouts gave up eight runs on eleven hits, while striking out five.
“We’re still trying to put together a team,” said Cates. “We pitched well at times. We had some times in there where we weren’t so good, but we pitched well at times. I think all of our pitches threw well in spots, so that’s encouraging.”
Being that they have only been together as a team for less than a week, the Scouts and their coaching staff are still trying to figure some things out. That includes the pitching staff, which is the main reason Cates decided to approach the game the way he did.
The offense, like the pitching rotation, is still trying to get into the swing of things. They were able to muster seven runs on eight hits, yet these seven runs all came in only two different innings. The lineup also suffered 14 strikeouts, including three in the seventh and ninth innings when Joes pitchers were able to strike out the side in order.
“We’ll spend a lot of time after a ballgame talking about things that we could’ve done better,” Cates said. “We’ve asked them to make some adjustments in some things they do hitting. They’re still working through that, and we struck out way too much tonight, but we’re working on some things there.”
On the bright side, Bertelsman, one of Xenia's most exciting offensive players, proved why he’s a member of the athletic-powerhouse Baylor Bears during the college baseball season. Bertelsman had four hits in five at-bats, while driving in two runs and scoring once.
“Tonight was a lot of fun,” Bertelsman said. “It was fun being out with the guys for the first time, being able to play with them after getting to know them over the past couple of days. I was just trying to go out there and have fun. I wasn’t trying to do too much, I just wanted to do my job.”
It’s tough for people of all walks of life to be brought together at once and being forced to work with one another to accomplish a common goal. Cates realizes this, but has been satisfied with the way his team has been able to become just that: a team.
“We do some things that are probably different from what a lot of clubs do, for team building,” Cates said. “We want them to be more familiar with each other. It’s really a brotherhood here. We want to take care of each other. We have seen our teams grow together over the summer before, and we have some outstanding guys. I’m looking forward to seeing us two weeks down the road.”
For Bubba Cates, Ryan Bertelsman, and the rest of the Scouts, a win on Opening Day would have been ideal. But the loss was just one out of 40 games they will play this season. And if one loss can consequently lead to a multitude of wins, it may be worth more than just what their current record shows. After all, only time will tell.