XENIA — In the midst of last week’s losing streak, Xenia Scouts manager Bobby Randall talked about how baseball can be a streaky game. His team was cold and falling downhill at the time, but not any more.
Xenia’s bats have come alive and the team’s stellar defense continues to make wide ranging plays. On this night, pitchers Jason Karkenny and Tyler Taute scattered 11 Cincinnati Steam hits and the Scouts claimed a 5-4 win over the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League’s first-place team.
In the Scouts’ last three games, they’ve walloped 37 hits, winning two. That includes 10 hits in Friday’s home win at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action sports complex.
Cincinnati got on the scoreboard first. Brian Bien led off the top of the first with a single to left. On a hit and run play, Bien raced to third on Derek Lance’s single to shallow right center, then Joe Forney scored Bien with a sacrifice fly into deep center field.
Wright State’s Jason DeFevers doubled to left for the Steam, but he was thrown out trying to score on Anthony Asalon’s single into left, for the final out of the inning.
The Scouts responded with three runs in the bottom half of the first, to take the lead. Michael Frigon led off with a double to right field, and Clayton Brandt then advanced Frigon with a nifty bunt down the third-base line for a hit. Conner Combs then doubled to center field to score both Frigon and Brandt. Combs then came in to score the go-ahead run on Michael Staudinger’s groundout to second.
Bien and Brian Bruening both scored in the second to put the Steam (19-10) back on top. Bien singled, then scored on Bruening’s double into the left center field gap. Bruening then came home on Forney’s single to center.
The Scouts’ Tyler Krahn got a little ribbing from his friends in the pressbox. They played “Oh Canada” as the young Canadian stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat, and then a Justin Bieber tune the next few times he went to the plate. Krahn singled, advanced on a walk to Conner Combs, then scored on Mac Seibert’s single down the rightfield line to tie the game at 4-all in the third inning.
The Scouts (15-16) grabbed the lead for good in the fourth. Luke Ortel singled to start the inning. He advanced on Frigon’s blooper to right, went to third on Brandt’s groundout, then scored on Canadian Krahn’s sacrifice fly into deep center field.
WSU’s Jason DeFever collected his third hit of the game for the Steam in the eighth inning, and Xenia almost paid dearly for it.
DeFever singled into right center field for his third hit of the game. Then, teammate Cameron Whitehead smacked a ground-rule double over the left center fence as DeFever was racing to third. DeFever was headed for home, but with the ground-rule double, the umpires sent him back to third.
Taute retired the final four Steam batters to end the game.
On Thursday night, the Scouts broke out of their six-game losing streak. Xenia claimed a 7-3 win over the Hamilton Joes on the road at Hamilton’s Foundation Field.
Taute — the same fellow who hit Xenia’s first home run of the season in Wednesday’s 16-12 home loss to the Joes — pitched two innings of middle relief and was credited with the pitching win. Krahn and Brandt led the Scouts in hitting. The nos. 2 and 3 hitters in the lineup each went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Xenia has another game tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Steam, at Western Hills High School in Cincinnati. The two teams will then return to Grady’s Field for the Scouts’ final game before the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League All-Star Game, which will take place at 7:05 p.m., July 16 at Xenia’s beautiful Athletes In Action facility.