The final weekend series of the 2015 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League (GLSCL) season ended with Galion and Xenia each winning a game at Heise Park’s James D. Heddleson Field.
Graders catcher Mark Walton drove in the game-winning run for Galion (14-22) in the 12th inning of a 6-5 victory on Saturday night. The Scouts (24-16) returned the favor on Sunday, winning a slugfest, 14-7.
In Saturday’s win, Walton finished 4-for-5 with two RBI. Alexander Malinsky went 2-for-5 and also drove in a pair of runs. Kevin Shrock and Tyler Ocker each had a hit and drove in a run.
Nick Muse (1-2) worked the final three innings in relief to earn the win for Galion. He held the Scouts scoreless and gave up just one hit. Muse struck out six batters and walked two.
David Gauntt, Christian Binger, Kyle Carnahan and Cale Giddings each had two hits for Xenia. Gauntt drove in two runs, while Lincoln Reed and Levi Gilcrease each had one RBI.
Scouts reliever Joseph Chasen was tagged with the loss after giving up the RBI single to Walton. He pitched three innings and gave up one run on three hits. Chasen finished with four strikeouts and two walks.
Galion built a 4-0 lead after two innings. Malinksy doubled in two runs in the first and Ocker and Shrock each had a RBI in the second.
Xenia rallied to tie the score in the seventh after Gauntt hit a two-RBI double and Giddings and Gilcrease each doubled in a run.
Walton’s single in the bottom of the eighth drove in Jake Krupar and allowed Galion to regain the lead, 5-4, but the Scouts tied the game in the top of the ninth when Reed singled to drive in Joey Leavitt.
After Muse held Xenia scoreless in the 10th, 11th and 12th, the stage was set for Walton to be the hero in the bottom of the final inning. Austin Adams led off with a single to center field and advanced to second base when the center fielder misplayed the ball. A.J. Cecil replaced Adams as the pinch runner.
The first pitch to Walton was wild and allowed Cecil to move to third with the potential winning run. After the count was evened at 1-1, Walton drove a single through the left side of the infield and Cecil sprinted home with the winning run.
Sunday’s game didn’t produce quite the same drama as the opening game of the series, but did treat the fans to an offensive explosion. Xenia pounded 14 hits and Galion sprayed 13 hits around the ball park. Each team left eight runners on base.
Nicholas Riotto had the big highlight of the night when he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence in the third inning. Riotto finished with three RBI and went 2-for-4. The significance of Riotto’s homer wasn’t lost on head coach Ray Neill.
“We finally got a home run from a left-handed batter tonight,” Neill said. “I said in the dugout that I was really happy that we didn’t go a full year without a left-handed batter hitting one out of here for us, especially with that short porch in right.”
Gaunt paced the Scouts red-hot attack by going 3-for-6 with four RBI and scoring two runs. Binger went 3-for-4, drove in two runs and scored three times. Carnahan, Giddings and Gilcrease each drove in a run.
Cecil was saddled with the loss after surrendering eight runs on eight hits in four innings after coming on in relief of starter Trent Downs. Cecil finished with four strikeouts and one walk.
Downs worked the first five innings of the game, giving up six runs and six hits. He had one strikeout and one walk.
Galion committed five errors. Only seven of Xenia’s 14 runs were earned.
Scouts reliever Tony Campbell picked up the win. He pitched two innings and gave up one run on five hits. He recorded on strikeout.
Xenia finished the season in third place, six games out of first place, and earned one of the six GLSCL playoff spots. The Graders will miss the playoffs after finishing in ninth place.
Galion will be back in action on Monday, playing its final game of the season against the Grand Lake Mariners at 2:05 p.m. at Heise Park.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.