After being swept in a doubleheader the night before, losing three in a row and five of six, and having been held to three hits three times in their previous five games, the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level, wood-bat baseball team needed some positive reinforcement last night.
They got plenty of it at home at the expense of a non-league foe the Kansas City Monarchs, shredding the Monarchs 13-1 at “June”?Shaffer Memorial Park stadium.
Against a team they’d surprisingly scored only six total runs against in two prior wins, the Mudcats belted seven hits to score six times in the bottom of the second inning last night and went on to a season-high 18 hits to go with the season-best runs total.
The highlight of the game for the thankful Fish and their fans came in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Leading 8-1, Ryne Morozowski, hitting .069 in 58 official at-bats entering the game, ripped not only his fifth hit of the season, but a line drive down the left field line that refused to lose elevation or hook until it had climbed over the fence in the left-field corner for a 3-run home run.
It was the Mudcats’ first home run at home in 18 games and only their fourth overall in 29 contests.
The 3-run blast followed a sacrifice fly by Morozowski in his preceding at-bat, giving him four RBIs in the game as he went one for four. The Floridian now has seven runs batted in this season despite having only the five hits.
His roundtripper, the 3-hit nights of recently-slumping Ryan?Brinley, Taylor Johnson, and Andy Westfall, and Brinley’s three RBIs were other offensive highlights of the romp, which left the Mudcats 14-15 overall this season.
With his three hits in six at-bats, Westfall boosted his average from .389 to .417, including a .466 mark in league outings.
Chillicothe followed its 6-run second – its biggest inning of the season thus far – with two each in the fourth and seventh and three in the sixth.
Beneficiaries of the lustiest Chillicothe hitting to date this season were starting pitcher Ian Hamm (1-0), who allowed one run on five hits across six innings in his first start of the season, and Lee Harrison, who earned his first save and the team’s sixth with three scoreless innings of relief.
"He gave us some innings we desperately needed," Mudcats head coach/pitching coach?Eric Peterson said of Hamm.