Locos defeat Scouts for Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League championship

XENIA — The Lima Locos made the journey to Xenia for game two in the best of the three Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League championship series Sunday night one win away from bringing the trophy back to the North division. Dominating pitching and a pair of three run innings for the Locos was enough to seal the deal for an 8-2 victory.

Through five innings Sunday night, the Lima Locos offense was at a standstill until Mason Sawyer (Ohio State) put the Locos in front for good in the fifth inning after he drilled a two-run home run that scored Landon Underhill (Ohio).

Through the season slow starts became normal for Chad Ehrnsberger’s squad, but once again the Locos were able to turn it on and pull away from the Xenia Scouts for Lima’s seventh GLSCL crown.

“It means a lot. I put the pressure on myself at the beginning of the season that it is championship or bust because that is my mindset and the Locos culture.” Ehrnsberger said “This group peaked at the right time, and it’s a great group of guys in the dugout.”

After joining the team two weeks ago and making one appearance for Lima, Blane McRae (St. Francis) hurled seven innings, allowing three hits and one run and striking out six.

“The first inning was really inefficient for me.” McRae said. “ I allowed a run, but my teammates were encouraging me and making plays behind me. I love pressure and big situations. I want to have the ball in a championship game and the Locos gave me an opportunity to come and pitch for them, and I wanted to do my best.”

Hitting has proved to be contagious for Lima and that tune rang true the remainder of the night. The bottom three of the Locos’ batting order combined for seven of the eight runs.

Anthony Zarlingo (Miami University) also contributed a double and RBI single.

“I just wanted to do anything I could to help out the team.” Zarlingo said. “Everybody in our lineup has been productive, the guys at the bottom of the lineup did an excellent job getting on base.”

Mason Sawyer (Ohio State), who had three RBI, homered in the fifth inning and then doubled two more times.

“I was fired up after the home run, and it ignited something.” Sawyer said. “I knew (Xenia starting pitcher Griffith) Hughes had a good fastball, and I was just sitting on it.”

Hughes (Carson-Newman) threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits.

Underhill reached base three times and scored each time, Kyle Ashworth (Long Beach State) doubled and drew a pair of walks.

Underhill said “In any playoff game you look for guys to step up and it always seems to be the least guys you expect. We needed a big outing from our pitcher. (Blane McRae) was amazing and that helped all of us get our bats going.”

Sawyer followed his fifth-inning dinger with back-to-back doubles.

The Scouts entered the bottom of the ninth down 8-1. Eli Riley (St. Francis) singled before being driven in by Kyle Wu’s (Wheaton) ground rule double. Micah Takac (Florida State) struck out the side for Lima, including the final two batters to seal the championship.

“Everybody on this team can play,” Ehrnsberger said. “They made my job hard because I can only put nine guys in the lineup. I am so proud of these guys and all the hard work they put in throughout the summer, and I am happy we can send them home with a ring.”

The Locos’ seventh league championship is the second most in league history behind the Columbus All-Americans who had eight, and the first for Lima since 2019. Ehrnsberger, who is making his second stint as head coach picked up his second crown after winning a championship in 2015.

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Nate Stidham wrote this story for LimaScores.com. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.