Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — The early season slump the Chillicothe Paints experienced, all of the sudden, seems like it happened years ago.
The Paints saw one streak come to an end Saturday evening, but continued the one that mattered most with a 6-2 victory over the West Virginia Miners.
Chillicothe (7-7) had scored at least 10 runs in each of its past three game. But as long as they’re winning, they don’t care how many runs cross the plate.
“We decided to make this game a little closer for the fans,” Paints second baseman Gavin Homer said with a laugh. “Our approaches haven’t changed at the plate, but we’re being more disciplined. It all starts in pregame hitting. We’re not chasing bad balls or anything, we’re staying patient and driving through the ball.”
After two innings of nothing, the Paints’ bats got rolling in the bottom of the third inning.
Andrew Bacon (Northern Kentucky) got things started with an RBI single, scoring Cody Orr (Tiffin) for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Bacon scored off an RBI single from Cole Andrews (Miami). Homer (Penn State) then came to the dish and ripped an RBI triple before scoring on a passed ball that pushed the score to 4-0.
“I’ve been working on a few things at the plate,” Homer said. “It’s mainly been just loading up sooner and slower and getting in my back hip a little bit longer so I get my power into the ball.”
Although West Virginia (4-11) closed the gap to 4-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, the Paints answered with sacrifice fly from Ethan Hajdukovic (Western Michigan) in the sixth and a throwing error in the seventh that scored Chris Eisel (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), producing the final count.
“I think the biggest thing is that these guys are getting more comfortable with each other,” Paints manager Brian Bigam said. “We’ve also hit the ball and pitched much better. Sure we didn’t put up 10 runs like we have, but it was nice to win a closer game. These are the games that you have to persevere in.”
Jack Raines (Baldwin Wallace) earned the win on the bump in five innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and striking out five batters.
Raines, along with Austin Calopietro (Toledo) and Nate Haugh (Toledo) combined to sit down 13 batters on strikes.
“Jack had a much more solid outing and looked sharper than his first two outings,” Bigam said. “Austin and Nate were electric coming out of the bullpen as well. Overall, we’re playing some decent baseball right now.”
Homer finished 2-for-3 with a pair of triples and an RBI to lead the Paints.
Andrews, Bacon and Hajdukovic added a hit and an RBI each to the mix.
The Paints wrap up their home weekend series and go for a sixth straight victory Sunday with a 6:05 start time against the Normal Cornbelters.
To find news, updates, and more information about the Paints, be sure to visit chillicothepaints.com.