LIMA – The overcast skies cooled the brutal temperatures.
But it also brought lightning across the area.
After lightning danced across the skies, the Locos put together their own version of thunder with an eight-run fifth inning.
That helped power the Locos to a 12-8 victory over St. Clair Tuesday at Simmons Field.
The first-place Locos are 13-7. St. Clair is 12-10.
One of the Locos’ top hitters was Anthony Amicangelo, who sat out this spring rehabbing a torn shoulder labrum from the 2016 season.
Amicangelo (Johnson City CC, Kansas) went 2 for 4 with a double, a home run and two RBI.
“It’s been a fun time. I enjoy it here,” Amicangelo said.
Amicangelo suffered a torn labrum his freshman year at Shoreline C.C. (Washington) and was limited to seven games.
After shoulder surgery he sat out this year of college and trained and rehabbed.
“I’m ready to play,” Amicangelo said. “There were some tough days where it was like, ‘Will I play again or do I still want to play?’ “
Added Locos coach Jared Gaynor, “He was working hard all offseason to get ready for the summer and he had a great night tonight. I put him in the leadoff spot. I think he’s a very patient hitter and has a very good idea of the strike zone and I wanted to put him up there at the top.’’
Amicangelo is batting .386 for the Locos with one home run and eight RBI.
“That home run (tonight) was my first home run in 20-something months,” Amicangelo said. “When I saw it go over, it was a good feeling.’’
Michael Diffley (Arizona Christian) went 2 for 5 with a double and two RBI.
Mark Castelblanco (Georgia Gwinnett) was 3 for 5 with a double and three RBI.
Brad Croy (Bowling Green/Ottawa-Glandorf) was 2 for 4 with a double.
John Privitera (Missouri State) was 2 for 4.
The Locos had 13 hits on the night.
The Locos trailed 4-1 entering the home fifth.
That came after the 47-minute lightning delay in the third inning.
The Locos’ bats came alive in the fifth and pushed across eight runs to take a 9-4 lead.
“I think we got a little more aggressive at the plate (in the fifth),” Gaynor said. “The first few innings we were a little sluggish, then we had the lightning delay. Then, the guys really stepped it up with their energy and their focus in that fifth inning and it really paid off.’’
To start the fifth, Judd Ward walked and Castelblanco singled.
Amicangelo banged an RBI double and it was 4-2 Green Giants. Diffley followed with a two-run double and it was 4-4.
Croy put down a bunt and the St. Clair third baseman launched a wild throw to first, which allowed Diffley to score from second.
That gave the Locos a 5-4 lead.
Privitera laid down an RBI bunt single and it was 6-4. Daniel Seres reached on an error and it was 7-4.
Ward’s RBI single made it 8-4 Locos. Castelblanco’s RBI groundout to second kicked the lead to 9-4.
The Locos added one in the sixth and two more in the seventh to push the lead to 12-4.
St. Clair came across with four in the ninth to get within 12-8.
Carter Bowen (Auburn) came on with the bases loaded and two outs to nail down the save by getting a fly out to center.
Tanner Hall (Mercer) started for the Locos and went five innings to get the win. He gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits. He struck out seven and walked two.
“He (Hall) didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but that’s going to happen,” Gaynor said. “The pitchers who are successful are the ones who can figure it out when they don’t have their best stuff and find a way to win, and that’s what he did.’’
St. Clair took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Carter Mossey hit a leadoff double and came home on an RBI single to left by Harrison Jones.
The Locos were quick to tie the game at 1 on a leadoff home run by Amicangelo, who jumped on a 1-0 pitch and took it over the right-center field fence.
St. Clair pulled out to a 3-1 lead in the third, before the lightning hit.
Jones went 3 for 5 with three RBI for St. Clair.
Locos notes: The Locos will start at 5:30 p.m. today against St. Clair on the Fourth of the July. A fireworks show at Faurot Park will follow the game.
Locos Michael Diffley (Arizona Christian) is eighth in the league in hitting at .385. Cade Beloso (LSU) is 12th at .367. … Beloso ranks eighth in RBI with 17. … Tyler Simon (Kennesaw State) is fifth in runs with 15. … John Privitera (Missouri State) is fifth in stolen bases with 11.
The Locos rank fifth in the league in hitting at .282. They are also second in home runs (15), second in total bases (270) and sixth in stolen bases (42). They rank third in pitching with an ERA of 4.99.
Locos pitcher Rhett Fetner (Auburn) and infielder/pitcher Jarrett Smetana (Kent State) have both left the team and headed home.
Locos lefty Austin Swift (Indiana Wesleyan/Kalida) left the team to concentrate on his full-time summer job. He also was battling a sore left shoulder.
St. Clair general manager/pitching coach Chico LaBute is a former Locos assistant coach under Rob Livchak. He’s in town with the Green Giants.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Locos’ game against Richmond on Saturday has been moved to a 5 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday at Simmons Field. The Locos will now have Friday and Saturday off.