Locos take first game against Scouts

LIMA — Saturday’s game did not start out the way Locos’ head coach Chad Ehrnsberger wanted.

However, the Locos’ eighth inning more than made up for the sluggish start in Saturday’s first game of the three-game Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League championship series against the visiting Xenia Scouts at Simmons Field.

After failing to advance baserunners for most of the game, the Locos’ offense finally cashed in.

Leading 4-3 in the eighth, the Locos exploded for six runs on five base hits, to pull away for a 10-3 lead.

With bases loaded in the eighth for the Locos, Landon Underhill (McLennan CC), the second baseman, had a bases-clearing triple. For the game, Underhill was 2 for 5 with four RBI.

In the ninth, pitcher Alex Figueroa (Cochise CC), who came in for relief in the seventh for the Locos, managed to hold off Xenia for a 10-4 victory.

“That was huge, obviously,” Ehrnsberger said about his team’s explosive eighth inning. “The first six or seven innings definitely did not go our way. I don’t want to say that we had some bad at-bats, but they weren’t the at-bats that we’ve been having this season.

“Fortunately, we came through in the eighth inning. We had a lot of big hits. And our pitching did the job. (Garrit) Krupp (Owens CC) came in and gave us an inning-and-two-thirds (on the mound). Then ‘Fig’ (Figueroa) came in and shut them down. With a three-game series – to get that first game is what you have to do.”

The two teams return to action Sunday at Xenia’s Grady’s Field at 7:05 p.m. for the second game of the best of three championship series.

The Locos are playing in their fourth consecutive GLSCL championship series.

Kade Arn (BGSU) got the starting nod on the pitching mound for the Locos on Saturday.

In the second inning, Arn struggled, as he walked four and hit a batter, en route to Xenia claiming a 3-2 lead. The Scouts mustered just one base hit in the second. Arn threw 47 pitches in that second frame.

Arn settled down after that rough second. He worked the next three innings before being lifted for Krupp.

Arn was tabbed for three runs (two earned), while giving up just two base hits. The right-hander from Bellefontaine struck out eight, walked five and hit one batter. Arn threw a total of 118 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Ehrnsberger said that Arn was not in control, early on.

“It was a little frustrating, because I knew we were a little short on pitching,” Ehrnsberger said. “When you have an inning like that, it obviously makes it tough. But he kept us there. … That’s the main thing. The ‘Arn’ we saw that inning is something we haven’t seen all summer. It was a shock. But at the same time, he limited them to three runs and kept us close enough where we could come back.”

The Locos got on the scoreboard first.

In the first inning, Xenia starting pitcher Parker Dillhoff walked five batters, which resulted in two Lima runs.

In the top of the second, Xenia came away with a 3-2 lead, due in part to three walks and a hit batter by Arn.

In the fifth, the Locos knotted the game at 3 apiece, thanks to a Xenia error.

In the seventh, Underhill had an RBI single to give the Locos a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Locos’ bats came alive.

Lima scored six runs on five hits to pull out to a seven-run advantage. Underhill’s bases-clearing triple put the game away for the Locos.

“He (Underhill) has had a great summer,” Ehrnsberger said. “But he has struggled, recently. I think he’s down on himself, a little bit. But he definitely came through for us, tonight. Hopefully, those two hits will give him confidence going into tomorrow.”

Xenia head coach Colby Watilo said he was feeling optimistic for most of Saturday’s game.

“The first seven innings, it was great. It was tight all the way through. I think we got a little relaxed there. Then they got the big hit (Underhill’s triple) when they needed it. They pounded out some big hits there and made us pay for our mistakes. So, tip of our caps to them,” Watilo said.

Kyle Ashworth (Long Beach State) also had a multiple-hit game for the Locos on Saturday. The Locos’ right fielder was 3 for 5 at the plate.

For the game, the Locos had eight hits. However, they left 12 runners on base. Xenia recorded seven hits and left 12 baserunners stranded.

Parker Dillhoff pitched the first five innings for the Scouts. The left-hander from Wichita State allowed three runs on two hits, while striking out four, walking nine and hitting a batter. Dillhoff threw 103 pitches, 50 for strikes.

Will Bishop came in to pitch two innings for Xenia. Hunter Reagan worked the eighth for the Scouts.

After winning two straight against North Division-foe Muskegon, to get into the championship series, Ehrnsberger is hoping his team can do the same thing Sunday night against Xenia.

“That’s the plan. You never want to look too far ahead. I’m hoping we can get it done,” Ehrnsberger said.

Shawnee product Kale Ebling (Cedarville) started at third base for Xenia Saturday night. Ebling went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Game summary

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