Scouts finally get a win against Steam
Scouts finally get a win against Steam
By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer
July 27, 2018
XENIA- Victory. Finally.
After 18 days and 12 losses, the tides finally changed for the Xenia Scouts, as they defeated the first-place Cincinnati Steam 3-1 on Thursday night in Xenia for their long-awaited 10th win of the year.
For weeks, it seemed like if the Scouts’ starting pitcher had a decent outing, the offense went silent, and if the offense was productive, the pitching struggled. It was the perfect storm, and it led to a brutal stretch of the season.
On Thursday, everything came together. Starter Sam Dralle was dominant on the mound, and the Xenia lineup backed him up at the dish. “That’s good baseball,” said Scouts manager Jason Lester.
Despite Dralle’s excellent performance, he claimed he didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, yet the control of his pitches was key.
“I was just trying to locate,” said Dralle. “I couldn’t really throw offspeed that well, it showed up once in a while but I just focused on locating.”
He threw seven complete innings, giving up one unearned run and five hits while striking out five and walking two. In Lester’s mind, his Dralle’s outing was simply “beautiful.”
Dralle’s start was almost outmatched, however. Steam starting pitcher Nick Byrnes no-hit the Scouts through 4 1/3 innings before first baseman Luke Boylson blasted a double off the center field wall.
“If it was later in the game it would have been pretty cool,” said Boylson when asked if it was special to be able to break up the no-hitter. “The fifth inning is a good start, but if it was later on it would have been pretty cool. It was pretty cool, but up to that point we had seven or eight hard-hit balls that were just caught, so it was nothing out of the ordinary.”
After the Steam recorded the second out of the inning, second baseman Zach Bacon traded places with Boylson after hitting an RBI double to tie the game.
Next up was center fielder and Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League All-Star Cam Murray. He sent a line drive up the middle for a single, Bacon came in to score and the Scouts had a lead.
Murray believes that in certain situations like this rally, hitting can be contagious. “After you see Luke take one off the wall then [Bacon] go dead center off the wall, it’s a little easier.”
Both Boylson and Murray agreed that knowing Dralle was doing his job on the mound motivated them to provide him some run support. “Whenever somebody’s giving you a good performance like that, you never want to let them down,” said Boylson.
The Scouts would add an insurance run before the inning was over, when right fielder Carson Wright drove in Murray with a single after he stole second base.
Dralle’s day was done after the seventh, and he was relieved by Owen Pyatt. After a rough start to the season, Pyatt had his best performance yet on Tuesday against the Hamilton Joes, where he struck out four and didn’t allow a baserunner in two innings of work.
After that game, he said that when is stuff is working as it should, he considers himself to be a strikeout pitcher.
He backed himself up on Thursday. After giving up a one-out double in the eighth, he and catcher Truman Brown collaborated on a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play to end the inning.
In the ninth, Pyatt slammed the door, and slammed it hard. He needed only 13 pitches to strike out the side in order and earn the save. As it stands, eight out the last 12 batters he has faced have been eliminated via the strikeout.
The Scouts have now reached the 10-win threshold. Lester said that in the past few weeks they have always felt good after close games, but in the ninth inning with two outs he really saw the dugout’s energy explode.
Typically a reserved guy, even Lester mirrored this energy after the game. “Double digits, brother!” he said.