LIMA – Lima Locos right-hander Kevin Miranda had his off-speed pitches dancing through the strike zone.
That made it very tough on Galion.
Miranda won his fourth straight game with a 7-3 victory over Galion in the first game of the doubleheader Sunday at Simmons Field.
In the second game, Galion knocked off the Locos 3-1 behind the complete-game pitching efforts of Garret Kuns.
The Locos, who are in first place in the North Division, are 20-9. The second-game loss snapped the Locos’ seven-game winning streak.
“In the first game it was nice we had three big home runs, those were game changers, but in the second game we couldn’t get anything going and couldn’t get a two-out RBI,” Locos coach Matt Furuto said. “Give their guy credit (Kuns). He did a good job of mixing and kept us off-balance.’’
The Locos won three out of four in the four-game series with Galion. The fifth game was rained out and will not be made up.
Galion is 7-21.
Miranda (Clarendon College, Texas), who stands 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA, dominated Galion’s batters with his breaking ball, change-up and fastball. He’s from Chiriqui, Panama.
Miranda went six innings and gave up one run, earned, on seven hits. He struck out three and walked none.
“He’s competes and throws multiple pitches for strikes,” Furuto said. “He didn’t walk anybody.’’
Miranda threw 91 pitches, 60 for strikes.
“I had my fastball, curveball and my best pitch is my change-up,” Miranda said. “My change-up today was really good. I threw a lot of strikes. It’s (my control) has always been good.’’
Added Locos catcher Gavin Harmon, “He can command his curveball really well and they weren’t really putting good barrels on it. His fastball was good and once he got the change-up down, we were money with it. This team is a fastball-hitting team so you have to get them with offspeed.’’
Galion led 1-0 in the first in the opener, but the Locos posted a four-spot in the home first to take the lead to stay, 4-1.
In the opener, Galion took a quick 1-0 lead in the first when the second hitter of the game, Andrew Sharp, hit a solo home run to left.
The Locos jumped back in front with four in the first.
Lavoisier Fisher singled and stole second. Tyler Tolve walked and Trevor Hatton with plunked with a pitch to load the bases.
Up came Gavin Harmon, who hammered a grand slam to left to give the Locos a 4-1 lead.
“I was trying to be on time and fortunately I got it in the air and got it over the fence,” Harmon said. “I knew it had a chance, but I was thinking double.’’
The Locos pushed the lead to 5-1 in the fourth on Jacob Pennington’s solo home run to left. It hit the top of the fence and hopped over.
Lima added its third home run of the day when Tim Martin pounded a two-run homer to left in the sixth. That pushed the Locos lead to 7-1.
Galion added two in the seventh to finish it off at 7-3.
Through 27 games, the Locos led the league in hitting (.309). The Locos’ team record for batting average is .297, set in 1991.
“All these guys come out and compete and every time they step in the box they can do something big,” Harmon said.
In the second game, Galion right-hander Garret Kuns (OSU-Mansfield), who is in the Air Force Reserves, had a no-hitter going for the first 3 1/3 innings.
“Against left-handers, he had a decent change-up and against right-handers, he had a decent breaking ball and he threw them in advantage counts when we were wanting a fastball,” Furuto said.
Nick Colina broke up the no-hitter with one out in the fourth with a single to right.
Kuns went all seven innings in the second game and gave up one run, earned, on three hits. He struck out nine and walked two.
Kuns threw 101 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Galion scored a run in the first and one in the third to take a 2-0 lead.
The Locos got within 2-1 in the fifth when Jackson Miller was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Galion made it 3-1 in the sixth on a solo home run by Byrce Ray.
Carter Poiry took the loss for the Locos. He went six innings and gave up three runs, all earned, on seven hits. He struck out three and walked three.
Locos notes: The Locos kick off a six-game road swing today with the first of three game at the Michigan Monarchs at Siena Heights. Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Locos will be in Windsor, Ontario, to play St. Clair. That leads the Locos into the Tuesday, July 16 All-Star game at Prasco Park in Mason.
The Locos’ next home game is Thursday, July 18, against Grand Lake at Simmons Field.
Locos outfielder Randon Jernigan returned from his hamstring injury on Sunday. Zach Sweet is still day-to-day with a back injury.
Locos Colton Frank and Dylan Coburn left to attend the funeral services for their head baseball coach at Louisiana Lafayette Tony Robichaux, who passed away on Wednesday after his second heart surgery. Both players are flying back for next weekend.
The Locos added a third catcher/bullpen catcher in Bath grad Jeremiah Bolon, who is playing at Berea College.
Through 27 games, the Locos led the league in ERA at 3.26.