The Miami Trace Panthers baseball team hosted the Chillicothe Cavaliers for an SCOL game Wednesday, May 3.
It was the final-ever SCOL game for both teams and the Panthers rallied from behind, twice, to post a 5-4 win.
It was also Senior Day as the Panthers recognized their eight seniors: Jacob Batson, Josh Morton, Skyler McDonald, Mitchell Creamer, Trenton Harris, Logan Robinson, Lance Mick and Hunter Moore.
Junior Darby Tyree was the winning pitcher for the Panthers.
He pitched seven innings with two hits and four runs (none earned) with six walks and seven strikeouts.
Josh Nihiser started and took the loss for the Cavaliers.
He pitched five innings with 11 hits and five runs. He walked one, struck out one and hit one batter.
Billy DeLeon pitched the sixth for Chillicothe, with one walk.
For the Panthers, Hunter Moore went 2 for 3 with a double, which drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth, and a total of three RBI.
Skyler McDonald went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and Brady Wallace was 2 for 3 with a run scored.
“It was Senior Night and the seniors were pumped up,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Smith said. “We made several mental mistakes that hurt us in some situations. That’s going to happen on a Senior Night.
“I can see why Chillicothe has won 14 or 15 games,” Smith said. “They have vastly improved since the beginning of the season.
“It was almost like a tournament atmosphere with the Senior Night and the intensity of the ball game,” Smith said. “Their four runs, all four of them got on by walks. Once we get in the tournament, you can’t allow that to happen. But, we overcame that tonight. I was proud of our kids. That’s a good baseball team we just beat.”
Chillicothe scored two in the top of the first with walks to Tre Brown and Jason Benson, a sacrifice bunt by Connor Mathis and a two-run single by Nick Conrad.
The Panthers put one run on the board in the bottom of the first.
With the first two batters retired, Wallace bunted for a base hit.
Trenton Harris walked and a throw to third that went for an error allowed Wallace to score.
Chillicothe took a 3-1 lead with a run in the top of the second.
A.J. Corbin walked and stole second.
With two away, Jason Benson reached on an error that allowed Corbin to score.
The Panthers were not deterred.
McDonald and Heath Cockerill had infield hits and Logan Robinson bunted them into scoring position.
Moore singled, scoring McDonald and the Panthers pulled the squeeze play, with Jacob Batson bunting and Cockerill scoring.
Josh Morton followed with a bunt single to load the bases with one out, but the Panthers could do no further damage.
After a scoreless third and fourth inning, the Cavaliers retook the lead in the fifth.
With one out, Benson walked and went to second on a wild pitch.
After a walk to Mathis, Benson stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Coats.
The Panthers then faked a throw to first and made it seem that the ball was thrown wild.
Tyree had the ball the entire time and was able to tag the runner for the final out of the inning.
The sun had disappeared right at the start of the game as the clouds began to move in.
It was, to say the least, downright chilly and a light rain began to fall by the middle of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mitchell Creamer led off with a single up the middle. He soon stole second.
He was erased on a fluky play when McDonald hit a ball that hit the third baseman and appeared headed for the outfield. However, the Cavs’ shortstop caught the carom and was able to make the putout.
After the second out was recorded, it was up to Robinson to keep the inning alive, and he did, with a single up the middle.
Up stepped Moore and he delivered a double down the left field line that scored McDonald and Robinson.
The Cavs had a single, but nothing else in the sixth.
The Panthers had a walk in the sixth, but that runner was thrown out.
Corbin walked to lead off the seventh and the Cavs were able to seriously threaten as he advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third on a ground out before Tyree, with the count full, got the strikeout to end the game.
Miami Trace finishes the final-ever SCOL season with a record of 8-6. The Panthers are now 15-6 overall.
Smith gave a few thoughts about the end of the storied, old league.
“For a last league game, that was an exciting game to end up the SCOL,” Smith said. “I’ve been around long enough, I’ve seen the league end once and now I’ve seen it end twice. Who knows, 10 years from now, we may be talking about another SCOL.
“You never know what’s going to happen the way schools change leagues now,” Smith said. “The SCOL has been a good league since I was a little kid. Then, we went without it for a while and it came back and everyone was excited. (The new league, the Frontier Athletic Conference) is still (going to be) mostly SCOL schools, minus the Clinton County schools and adding Jackson. We’re still seeing familiar faces in the future.”
The Panthers have picked up a game for Friday at home against Piketon.
The Panthers open tournament play Thursday, May 11 at home against Circleville at 5 p.m.
Smith said he is hoping to pick up a game or two early next week.
Offensively for Miami Trace: Jacob Batson, 1-4, 1 rbi; Josh Morton, 1-4; Brady Wallace, 2-3, 1 run, 1 bb; Trenton Harris, 0-3, 1 bb; Mitchell Creamer, 1-3, 1 sb; Skyler McDonald, 2-3, 1 sb, 2 runs; Heath Cockerill, 1-3, 1 run; Logan Robinson, 1-1, 1 sac, hbp, 1 run; Hunter Moore, 2-3, 1 2b, 3 rbi.
Offensively for Chillicothe: Tre Brown, 0-3, 1 bb, 1 run; Jason Benson, 0-1, 2 bb, roe, 1 sb, 2 runs; Connor Mathis, 0-2, 1 sac, 1 bb; Zach Coats, 0-2, 1 sac fly, 1 rbi; Nick Conrad, 1-3, 2 rbi; Cameron Cook, 1-2, roe; Nate Lechner, 0-3; Jaeden McNish, 0-2; Bryce Valentine, 0-1; A.J. Corbin, 0-1, 2 bb, 1 sb, 1 run.
C 210 010 0 — 4 2 1
MT 120 020 x — 5 11 2
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1