LIMA — The Lima Locos gave the fireworks crowd plenty to be festive about.
The Locos pounded out three home runs and even produced a rare straight steal of home.
The Locos swept St. Clair in a three-game series with a 12-4 victory in front of a Fourth of July crowd of over 1,000 fans Thursday at Simmons Field.
The Locos, who lead the North Division, stand 17-8. St. Clair is 11-11.
It marked the Locos’ eighth win in their last nine games.
“It feels great,” Locos coach Matt Furuto said. “It’s definitely good to step up and play three quality games against a quality opponent. To sweep them is really big.’’
For the Locos, Colton Frank, Tim Martin and Jackson Miller all homered.
And it was Trevor Hatton who capped off the festivities with a third-inning steal of home.
Martin went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI.
Miller was 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBI.
Nick Colina was 2 for 5 with two RBI.
St. Clair went out to a quick 2-0 in the first.
The Locos responded with four in the second to take a 4-2 lead. They tacked on four more in the third to push the lead to 8-3.
Locos starter Colin Scanlon (LaSalle) struggled in the first with three walks, leading to a pair of Green Giants runs.
The Locos came back with four in the second.
Designated hitter Tim Martin launched a three-run home run to left and the Locos took a 3-2 lead.
“That was a game changer,” Furuto said. “Whenever you have a big home run, it’s always a momentum swing.’’
Lavoisier Fisher singled and came around to score from third on a wild pitch to give the Locos a 4-2 lead in the second.
St. Clair got within 4-3 in the third when Gibson Krzeminski hit a solo home run to left.
The Locos rolled out a highlight reel in the fourth.
The Locos’ Frank crushed a solo home run well over the left-field fence in the third to give the Locos a 5-3 lead.
Frank (Louisiana Lafayette) said he dedicated the home run to his Louisiana Lafayette head coach Tony Robichaux, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 57.
“It was emotional, all the stuff he did for me,” Frank said. “Coach and I went through a lot and that he was like another father figure in my life. When I hit that ball, I overflowed with emotion. The tears, I’m still holding them back now.’’
Hatton then singled, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch.
Hatton then broke from third and slid across the plate just before the tag with a rare straight steal of home.
That gave the Locos a 6-3 lead.
“I thought his (St. Clair pitcher Jacob Moskowitz) windup was pretty slow,” Hatton said. “I felt like I could get home. I talked to coach (Furuto in the third-base coaching box) and he was hesitant at first. Then, we got the second out and he said go ahead and do it.
“I’ve never done it before, but I thought he took his time in his windup so I was pretty sure I could get home. I felt I got in there.’’
Added Furuto, “I knew we had a chance because I timed it (his move home). I knew we had a shot. When we got to two outs, I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot.’ He has good speed and was confident enough to do it. You don’t see it that often and it was definitely a cool moment for sure.’’
Colina’s two-run single up the middle gave the Locos an 8-3 lead.
Miller, who joined the Locos this week as an infielder, got in the spirit with a two-run home run into the left-field bullpen.
That pushed the Locos’ lead to 10-3 in the fifth.
Scanlon (LaSalle) went 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits. He struck out eight and walked four.
Scanlon threw 96 pitches, 55 for strikes.
The Locos’ bullpen of Jacob Pennington and Kyle Sacher closed it out from there.
Locos notes: The Locos kick off a home series against Galion with a 5 p.m. doubleheader today at Simmons Field. The first game will be the completion of the suspended game at Galion. The game will start in the third inning with the score tied at 3.
Locos center fielder Randon Jernigan is day-to-day with a tight hamstring.
Second baseman Zach Sweet is also day-to-day with a stiff back.
Locos former head coach Dan Furuto has been in town this week visiting his brother and current Locos head coach Matt Furuto. Dan is an assistant baseball coach at Abilene Christian.
The Locos added an infielder/pitcher to the roster on Wednesday. Jackson Miller (Akron/Medina) will play for Akron when the Zips re-start their program next year. Miller played at Lake Erie College this past spring.
Locos catcher Tyler Tolve entered Fourth of July with a league-leading 34 RBI. The club single-season record for RBI is Anthony Patellis’ 44 set in 1994.
Through 24 games, the Locos led the league in hitting (.308), runs (186) and hits (254). They rank second in doubles with 48. The Locos were second in the league in ERA at 3.27.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.