LIMA — It took 12 pitches before the Locos’ Garrett Hodges found his pitch.
Then he jumped on it.
Hodges’ two-run double in the home sixth inning broke up a tie and lifted the Lima Locos to a 10-3 victory over Grand Lake Friday at Simmons Field.
It was a bounce-back win after falling to Grand Lake on the road on Thursday.
“It’s a huge win,” Locos coach Brian Garman said. “To put up a 10 spot against obviously a good team, redeems ourselves after two consecutive losses. … We didn’t play the best baseball, but I’m happy for a win.’’
Added Hodges, “It was a great win. It was awesome.’’
The first-place Locos (25-8) lead second-place Grand Lake (19-14) by six games in the Central Division of the Great Lakes Collegiate League. The Locos magic number to clinch the Central is three. Any combination of Locos’ wins or Grand Lake losses lowers the number by one.
The Locos close the regular season with a 5-3 record against Grand Lake.
“It’s always good to beat Grand Lake,” Garman said. “There’s always been that Grand Lake rivalry. They handed us one at their place yesterday and we got them here today.’’
The Locos entered the sixth in a 3-3 tie.
The Locos’ Jack Barrie and Josh DeBacker both singled. Both moved over to second and third on an error.
Hodges, on the 12th pitch of the at-bat, lined a two-run double to right-center field to give the Locos the lead to stay 5-3 in the sixth.
“It was huge for me, personally, and the team because I’d been struggling the past few games,” Hodges said. “He kept coming in and I kept fouling it off and fouling it off and almost killed a few teammates (with foul balls). I knew none of his pitches were really wipe out so I shortened up and he hung me a curveball and I put it in right field.’’
The Locos scored five in the eighth to pull away to a 10-3 lead.
Joe Gahm picked up the win in relief for the Locos. He worked the final five innings, giving up no runs on five hits. He struck of five.
“I said it before, but Joe Gahm is worth his weight in gold,” Garman said.
For the Locos, Hodges went 1 for 4 with three RBI. Barrie went 3 for 4 with a double. DeBacker was 2 for 2 with two walks. Stephen Dobbs went 2 for 4 with three RBI.
The Locos took a 1-0 lead in the second.
DeBacker walked, stole second and went to third on a fly to left by Will Kilgore. Hodges’ sacrifice fly to center gave the Locos a 1-0 lead.
The Locos added two more runs in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Barrie singled and DeBacker followed with a single. Kilgore’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
Dobbs’ RBI single to center kicked the Locos’ lead to 3-0.
Grand Lake scored three unearned runs in the fifth to tie the game at 5. The Mariners were helped by two walks and two throwing errors by the Locos pitcher, both on sacrifice bunts.
Grand Lake’s Joe Aeilts’ RBI fielder’s choice grounder to second tied the game at 3 in the fifth.
Isaiah Montoya Gonzales started for the Locos and went four innings, giving up three runs, all unearned, on two hits. He struck out four and walked two.
Dobbs’ two-run single in the eighth gave the Locos a 7-3 lead. Ethan Hurt’s two-run single and a Grand Lake throwing error gave the Locos a 10-3 lead.
Locos notes: Locos right-hander Brad Croy (Bowling Green/Ottawa-Glandorf) was named the GLCL pitcher of the week. In two games, over 13 2/3 innings, he gave up no runs and struck out 11. He also notched a win.
The Locos recently added infielder Jay Meuse from Chattahoochee Valley.
Locos named to the All-Star game were pitchers Colin Gossard (Findlay/Bath), Joe Gahm (Auburn), Joe Taylor (Kennesaw State) and Taylor Wilkes (Kennesaw State), catcher J.T. Thomas (Mercer), first baseman Jack Barrie (UNOH), shortstop Tyler Tolbert (Alabama-Birmingham) and outfielders Garrett Hodges (Kennesaw State) and Ethan Hurt (Trevecca Nazarene). The Locos played for the North and the North defeated the South 10-7 Tuesday at Mason’s Prasco Park.
Next up: The Locos are home Saturday and Sunday against Galion. Both games will start at 7 p.m. at Simmons Field.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.