Chillicothe High School baseball Hornets head coach Mike Lewis might want to patent his late-inning motivational exhortations to his teams. They’re certainly working this week.
Three days after the CHS freshmen, with Lewis at the helm on a fill-in basis while usual frosh coach?Tim?Marsh was unavailable, erupted for 14 runs in their last at-bat to win a first-round game in the Cameron Freshman?Tournament, the Hornets boss addressed his varsity team as it came to bat for the bottom of the sixth inning yesterday, trailing Cameron 4-2 as it did.
Pointing out what the Chillicothe ninth graders had done a few days before, Lewis encouraged his players to step to the plate with confidence and execute their practiced approaches with an aim toward tying the game or seizing the lead for the first time.
The Hornets did just that, parading 12 batters to the dish and scoring seven runs on four hits and five walks to snatch a Midland Empire Conference victory from the visiting Dragons.
With the come-from-behind triumph, Chillicothe evened its 2012 record at 3-3 overall and gained its second league win in as many tries.
As of press time this morning, the baseball Hornets’ scheduled play in the Marshall Invitational?Tournament still were planned to take place, although on a slightly-delayed basis.
Buying a bit of extra time to get the two fields which were to be game sites in playable condition, Marshall officials shifted all originally-scheduled game times today back two hours. That left CHS’ boys to meet Windsor at 2 p.m., if all preparations were completed by then, and host Marshall at about 5:30 p.m. Both Chillicothe games were to be at the field at Marshall High School.
If today’s games are able to be played as scheduled and weather and field conditions permit tomorrow, the Hornets are due to play a final-round game in the tournament Saturday at the MHS field.
Yesterday’s Chillicothe triumph came despite both intermittent showers – one of which interrupted play briefly in the third inning – and trailing twice.
After erasing an early 2-0 deficit with single tallies in their second and third, the Hornets dropped back behind when Cameron starting pitcher Nathan?Neal singled home Landon Ocker with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.
Behind by that run as they came to bat in the sixth, the Hornets not only quickly erased the deficit, but took their first lead and then piled on.
The big, big inning began with second baseman Brennan Bonderer ripping a double to left field leading off.. After a popup, Trevor Reger’s second-straight hit found the outfield grass in left-center, but Bonderer could only advance 90 feet, leaving men at the corners briefly.
Even with the potential tying run at third, Cameron tried to throw out Reger stealing second, but as it did Bonderer dashed for home and beat the throw there. The Hornets had tied it and had the potential lead run at second.
Page 2 of 2 - No. 9 hitter Steven?Cooper, a sophomore catcher then smoked a 2-2 pitch to left-center for an?RBI double and Chillicothe had the lead for good.
That hit kayoed lefthander Neal, the Cameron starting hurler, but reliever Randy?Pelton didn’t have much success.
He walked leadoff man Austin?Hatfield and Troy?Toedebusch, throwing a couple of wild pitches in the process to let courtesy runner Connor Dixon, subbing for Cooper, score. D.J.?Gannan then singled Hatfield in from third to make it 6-2,?Chillicothe.
Pelton finally got his first out and the second of the inning, but the Hornets weren’t finished scoring.
Another wild pitch scored Toedebusch from third and put Gannan there. Guy?Vinson then drew a walk and stole second while Bonderer – up for the second time in the inning – drew a bases-filling walk. Another free pass, this one to relief pitcher Gabe Jeffries, who had thrown the top of the sixth as the Hornets’ fourth hurler, made it 8-3.
A passed ball plated Vinson with Chillicothe’s final run of the inning.