LIMA — The postseason is here for the Lima Locos.
And right now they ready and primed to go.
The Locos wrapped up a record-breaking regular season with a 10-1 thumping of Cincinnati Monday at Simmons Field.
It was the finally tune-up for the playoffs for the Locos. On Sunday, they won the the Great Lakes Collegiate regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
The Locos open the best-of-three semifinals against the Southern Ohio/Licking County winner on Thursday at Simmons Field. Game 2 will be on the road, while Game 3 is back at home on Saturday in the 1-1-1 playoff format.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Locos third baseman Will Kilgore said. “All we’ve won is the regular season. Nobody is going to remember that. All they’ll remember is if we win a ring or not. That’s what we’re going for.”
The Locos (28-7) end the regular season with an eight-game winning streak and have won 16 of 17. Since starting 7-5, they stand 21-2.
The 28-7 record is the Locos’ best-ever winning percentage at .800, knocking off the previous mark of .777 (28-8 set in 2009).
“Steve Meyer (the Locos general manager) and I knew we had a good team before the summer even started, on paper,” Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “But, obviously, games aren’t played on paper and these guys proved why they are good players. Not only do they have talent, they work really hard at it. They came ready to play every night and that’s hard to do in summer ball. All the credit in the world goes to them.”
In spite of 15 rain outs, the Locos battled through the long layoffs.
“It is amazing what they did,” Ehrnsberger said. “It was frustrated for them, but they are baseball players and that’s all they want to do. When they finally did get back on the field, they were ready to go.”
Kilgore (Georgia State) went 3 for 5 with an RBI on Monday. Brett Murray (Creighton) had a solo home run. Pinch-hitter Henry Rowling (Georgia) had a pinch-hit, two-run home run. Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State) went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI.
The Locos took a 6-0 lead after three innings, with one run in the second and five in the third.
In the second, Kilgore singled and came home on a an RBI double by Reynolds to take a 1-0 lead
In the third, Kilgore had an RBI single to make it 2-0. Reynolds lined a two-run single to center to kick the lead to 4-0. Hunter Williams delivered a two-run single to center and it was 6-0, Locos.
Locos starter right-hander Isaiah Montoya-Gonzalez (Butler CC) went five strong innings and gave up no runs on one hit. He struck out three and walked one.
Reynolds said the GLCL regular-season title gives the team confidence entering the playoffs.
“It’s a matter of knowing we can compete with all these teams and we’ve beaten these teams before, that we can do it again,” Reynolds said. “We have a lot of confidence, but we’re not cocky or arrogant about it. We have a lot of confidence we can play our best game and hopefully win the title.”
Locos notes: The Locos ended up hitting .296 as a team, just short of the team record of .297 set in 1991. It’s the first time the Locos hit .290 since the 2004 team batted .291. …. With makeup games scheduled in the league today, the Locos’ Cole Gordon (Mississippi State) leads the league in hitting at .400 (30 for 75). He ranks second in the GLCL home runs with seven. … Locos right-hander Nick Eltzroth (Ohio Northern) will start Game 1 of the playoffs on Thursday.
Reach Tom Usher at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher.