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Scouts lose to Mariners, 12-6

Scouts defeated by Copperheads, 8-3. 

By Luke Severt, Xenia Scouts beat writer

 July 7, 2018

CELINA, Ohio- Misery loves company.


The old adage has rang true for the Xenia Scouts over the past two weeks of baseball, as each loss seemingly becomes more and more difficult to swallow. They travelled to Celina, Ohio on Saturday night to take on the Grand Lake Mariners, and were defeated by a final score of 12-6.


It was their seventh loss in a row, and their 13th in their last 15 games. What makes the loss hurt even worse is the fact that they had a chance to win, but were forced to use two non-pitchers on the mound, due to a lack of depth in their staff.


Earlier this week, Scouts manager Bubba Cates said that it is frustrating to him to have to use position players on the mound, because it’s not how the game is supposed to be played. Jason Lester, who is managing the team while Cates is away for personal reasons, agrees with him, but is appreciative of the effort that both Luke Boylson, who typically plays outfield, and infielder Zach Bacon gave in a position they are unfamiliar with.


“They took one for the team,” said Lester. “All of our pitchers are on the waiting list, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Those are the two guys that have a little bit of knowledge of what it takes to throw strikes.”


The game was tied at six heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, with Scouts starter Tom Fleser still on the mound. The Mariners used two Xenia errors and a base hit to take a one-run lead, but the Scouts, a team that has shown offensive resiliency throughout the year, were still in the game.


They were not able to score in the top of the seventh, and when they came back out on defense, they were forced to make some changes. Fleser’s 138-pitch night was finally over, and Boylson was tasked with relieving him. He allowed only one run in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Scouts an opportunity for a comeback, but they again went down quietly.


Then the troubles began. Boylson would give up three runs on two hits and a walk before Lester turned to Bacon, who allowed a run and a couple hits himself. The Mariners now had a six-run lead heading into the ninth, and with only three outs to spare, the deficit proved insurmountable, and the Scouts lost again.


Bacon feels a bit of frustration about the problem his team is facing, but doesn’t feel like they deserve any pity. “We don’t have the pitching that some other teams have, but there are other teams in the league that are in the same situation as us. It is what it is, you just have to try to win ballgames with what you got.”


After a few games of little success, the Xenia offense seemed to be back to their walloping ways, turning in a performance of six runs on nine hits. Three of these runs came in the top of the first, as the Scouts jumped out to an early lead after a two-run double by Bacon and an RBI base hit off the bat of shortstop Dugan Darnell. “We played well, we had good approaches at the plate,” said Bacon about the offense. Along with Bacon and Darnell, left fielder Chandler Chambers had a great night at the plate, finishing with three hits and an RBI.


Fleser was given the loss on the mound, pitching six innings and giving up six earned runs on 11 hits and recording the same number of walks as strikeouts at five. Boylson’s final stat line reads four runs on two hits and two walks in an inning. Bacon also threw one complete inning, surrendering one run on two hits, one walk and one strikeout.


The Mariners bullpen, which does not feature any position players, was dominant, allowing only four hits and no runs through 3 1/3 innings, sparking a bit of envy from Lester. “It’d be fun to have a guy like they did tonight, and then bring in two or three guys behind him, to make sure you win,” he said.


The Scouts will have an opportunity to end their losing streak on Sunday as they play the Mariners again, and both Lester and Bacon feel like they have a good shot of doing so. They will have multiple pitchers available, including Caleb Eder, who has been the most consistent starter on the Xenia pitching staff this season.


Bacon will likely not need to pitch on Sunday, but if he did, he would embrace it.


“It’s fun,” he said about his time on the mound. “It kinda sucks when you give up a couple runs, but it’s fun. And if the team needs it, the team needs it.”