LIMA — It was late-inning heroics again for the Lima Locos.
This time it was the Locos’ Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State) delivering an RBI parachute single to shallow left in the home ninth to provide the Locos with a 6-5, walk-off victory over Xenia on Saturday night at Simmons Field.
With the game tied at 5, the Locos’ Mitch Carriger (Maryville) led off the ninth with a double over the center fielder’s head. Will Kilgore was walked intentionally.
Hunter Williams followed with a single to the warning track in left to load the bases. Xenia left fielder Wyatt Hogan never saw the ball off the bat and never moved an inch from his spot in left.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Reynolds lifted his RBI single to left just over the heads of a drawn-in infield.
“That’s not exactly what I wanted to do, but I was just trying to get a pitch to hit,” Reynolds said. “It worked. It was a fastball off the end of the bat, and luckily, it blooped over shortstop.”
Reynolds bashed the ball most of the night, going 4 for 5, with a double, a triple and two RBI.
“That’s how baseball works,” Reynolds said. “That’s why you love the game.”
Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger added, “I remember I watched him (Reynolds) play on TV at Mississippi State and I was excited he’d be coming up here.”
The Locos are 14-6. Xenia is 14-11.
The Locos trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, before scoring two in the fifth and two in the sixth to tie the game.
“We’ve been doing it all year where when our backs are against the ball, our offense seems to come through,” Ehrnsberger said. “We did that again tonight. It’s good to see our hitters get good at-bats like that and keep chipping away at the lead.”
For the Locos in their 10-hit attack, Hunter Williams went 2 for 5. Catcher Billy Lipari (Evansville) went 2 for 3 with a double and a home run off Xenia starter Quentin McGrath, who entered the game 5-0 with a 0.60 ERA. McGrath went five innings and gave up five runs, four earned, and was not involved in the decision.
“Our lineup, we have a lot of guys who can hit, so we know we’re never out of it, top to bottom,” Lipari said. “We have guys who can string hits together.”
Xenia took a 3-0 in the top of the third on a long solo home run by Kyle Carnahan to left-center field.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Locos cut the margin to 3-1. Hunter Williams singled and came home on an RBI triple down the the right-field line by Reynolds.
Carnahan’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left off reliever Ryan Ruggles, gave Xenia a 5-1 lead.
Lipari’s solo home run to left brought the Locos within 5-2 in the home fifth. Kilgore’s sacrifice fly made it 5-3 in the fifth.
The Locos tied the game at 5 with a two-run sixth.
Locos starter Tyler Anderson (Bowling Green/Shawnee) went four innings and gave up three runs, one earned, on two hits. He struck out two and walked two.
It marked the second straight night the Locos have scored in either the eighth or ninth to pull out the win.
“It’s a close-knit summer ball team and we know what to expect out of each one of them,” Reynolds said.
Locos notes: The Locos are at Xenia for a 4;05 p.m. game today. Lima returns home at 7:05 p.m. Monday against Grand Lake. …. Locos outfielder Mitch Carriger (Maryville) is seventh in the league in hitting at .388 and third in RBI (22). Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State) is sixth in runs (18). Brett Murray (Creighton) leads the league in doubles (12). Will Kilgore (Georgia State) is second in home runs (5).Reach Tom Usher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lima_Usher.