LIMA — The Lima Locos spent most of the summer pounding the ball from foul pole to foul pole.
Very few Locos teams have hit like this one.
But the key for the Locos in pursuit of their sixth Great Lakes Collegiate League championship will be coming up with consistent pitching in the playoffs.
The Locos (26-15) won the North Division by four games over second-place Muskegon (22-19).
The Locos will play Muskegon in a best-of-three GLCL semifinal playoff series.
Game 1 will be at 7:05 p.m. today at Simmons Field.
Game 2 will be Friday at Muskegon. Game 3, if necessary, will be at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Simmons Field.
The Locos went 3-3 against Muskegon this season.
The Locos led the league in hitting at .296, just shy of the team record of .297 set in 1991.
They also led the league in runs (307, 7.5 per game) and hits (417). They were third in doubles (76) and third in home runs (26).
The Locos finished sixth in ERA at 3.72.
Here’s the Locos’ regular-season grade card:
Tyler Tolve (Kennesaw State) hit RBI line drives all season and had one of the best Locos’ seasons ever. He finished with a GLCL-record of 53 RBI, easily breaking the Locos’ RBI record of 44 by Anthony Patellis in 1994. This week he broke the GLCL-RBI record of 52 set by Southern Ohio’s Blaine Crim last year.
Tolve hit .338 with seven doubles. He had four home runs and stole 10 bases. He finished fourth in the league in hits (50) and fifth in runs (36).
Tolve saw plenty of action at third base and as the designated hitter.
Getting more than 100 at-bats behind the plate was Gavin Harmon (Georgia Highlands), who hit .246 with four home runs and 24 RBI.
Colton Frank (Louisiana-Lafayette) is listed as an outfielder, but played the bulk of the year at first base. He hit .247 with power (four home runs) and 18 RBI. He also had 10 stolen bases.
Jacob Pennington (Murray State) played mostly first and third base and hit .241 with two home runs and eight RBI.
Jackson Miller (Akron) joined the team in the first week of July when All-Star infielder Alexei Cazarin suffered a broken hand. Miller played second base and third and batted a solid .298 with two home runs and 13 RBI. Miller was a stabilizing force down the stretch.
Zach Sweet (Lamar) played plenty of second base and hit .267 with four doubles and one home run. He drove in 13.
All-Star shortstop Ryan Smith (Kennesaw State) was the anchor of the infield. He hit .320 with five doubles and 12 RBI. He stole 11 bases.
With numerous injuries, many infielders were forced to play all over the diamond. That played into the team committing 62 errors.
Second baseman Xavier Haendiges (Ohio University) returned to playing in the field late in the year after he battled a right biceps injury. He got in 51 at-bats, mostly at designated hitter, and hit .333 with three doubles and nine RBI.
The outfield was the Locos’ overall strength.
The unit had plenty of speed and defense and all could hit.
Randon Jernigan (Georgia), Nick Colina (Kennesaw State) and Lavoisier Fisher (Georgia Highlands) all made the All-Star team. In fact, at the scouting combine prior to the All-Star game, Jernigan and Fisher tied for the fastest players in the league in running the 60.
Jernigan led the team in hitting (.343) with 12 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Fisher hit .293 with nine doubles and 21 RBI. He had 14 stolen bases.
Colina hit .313 with eight doubles and 18 RBI. He led the team and was fourth in the league with 21 stolen bases.
Trevor Hatton led the team with 149 at-bats and hit .309. He led the team in doubles (11) and tied for the lead in home runs (4). He was second in RBI with 28. Hatton tied for the league lead in triples (4), one away from the team record.
And let’s not forget, Hatton pulled off a Locos’ rarity by stealing home. He had 14 stolen bases.
Tim Martin saw plenty of action and hit .247 with six doubles and 20 RBI.
Don Goodes (VMI/Wapak) stayed with the team all summer after undergoing surgery on his thumb after the first week.
Cole Reeves (Dallas Baptist) pitched in the All-Star game, but then left for home for good to have his wisdom teeth removed. That left a hole in the rotation, after he went 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in 20 innings.
With Reeves gone, the top three spots in the rotation are filled by Jacob Lewis (UNOH), Kevin Miranda (LSU-Shreveport) and Zach Brown (Lourdes).
Lewis was steady all summer, going 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA. He struck out 34 in 30 innings.
Miranda (5-0), from Panama, tied for the league lead in wins and compiled a 2.17 ERA. He threw his breaking ball and fastball for strikes, as he had 24 strikeouts and six walks in 29 innings.
Brown went 0-1 with a 2.19. He struck out 36 in 22 innings.
Dylan Coburn (Louisiana-Lafayette) had a good second half and went 2-1 with a 4.73 ERA.
All-Star Jared Rine (Kennesaw State) was used in every pitching role possible, including starting at the end of the year.
But with set-up man/closer Kyler Seemann (UNOH) tearing his ACL in his knee late in the year, the plan was to return Rine to the back end of the bullpen.
Rine had a 1.82 in 31 innings with one save. He went 4-1 and finished fifth in the league in strikeouts (47).
Losing Seemann was a tough blow, as he had a 2.10 with a team-high three saves. He struck out 25 in 17 innings.
Several two-way players have helped out the pen in Frank, Pennington and Miller. Frank had several solid outings and finished with a 0.87 ERA in eight innings.
Pennington compiled a 3.29 ERA in 17 innings.
Rine and sidearmer Kyle Sacher (Lourdes) tied for the team lead in appearances with 13. Peyton Berry had 12 appearances, including two starts.
The bullpen also lost several pitchers because they reached their innings limits.
Tyshaun Chapman (UNOH) signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals and headed to Arizona.
Joel Roediger (Ohio Dominican/Wapakoneta), Manny Vorhees (Ohio Dominican/Wapak ) and Josh Harris (Illinois) were added to the roster last week.
The pen graded out as a B during the year, but the overall grade slips with the loss of key relievers in the final weeks.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.