One night ago, the Chillicothe Paints left VA Memorial stadium on the wrong end of a three hit shut-out, dropping the opening game of a two-game set to the Butler BlueSox. The loss dropped the Paints out of sole possession of first place in the Prospect League’s East Division and into a four-way tie for the top spot.
The Paints didn’t waste any time getting over it.
Chillicothe scored five runs on four hits off Butler starter Brett Sullivan in the first inning of Wednesday’s series finale with the Bluesox. It almost wasn’t enough.
Chillicothe needed late RBI from Jossue Delgado and Alex Grove in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to pull out the 7-5 win. Coupled with losses from West Virginia and Richmond — they entered play Wednesday tied for first with Butler in Chillicothe — the Paints reclaim sole possession of first place with a half game lead.
Justin Wagler started the Paints’ first inning rally with a one-out single, which was followed by a walk from Dan Zuchowski. Giancarlo Brugnoni singled home Wagler to even the score at 1-1. Zach Mathie doubled home Zuchowski to give the Paints their first lead of the game. Nick Lombardi tripled to drive home Brugnoni and Mathie, and Lombardi capped the scoring on a fielder’s choice off the bat off Stuart Eisler.
Sullivan settled in after that, holding the Paints to just two additional hits through the next 51⁄3 innings of work.
The Bluesox took advantage and started chipping away at the lead.
Butler scored at least one run — they scored twice in the second — in each of the game’s first four innings off Chillicothe starter Jack Peck. Peck finished with no strikeouts, no walks and allowed five runs off nine hits in six innings of work. The Bluesox used back-to-back singles and a double off Peck in the fourth inning to pull even.
Peck pitched scoreless through the his last two innings of work. Peck gave way to David Frederick in the seventh. Frederick pitched two hits in two innings with a strikeout and a walk.
Frederick’s efforts were enough to give the Paints a chance to retake the lead, which they capitalized on in the seventh.
Eisler led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Grove. Vinnie Booker then walked and moved to second as part of a double steal. Eisler advanced to third. Delgado gave the Paints the lead for good with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Paints insurance run in the eighth started with a Brugnoni walk. A few batters later, Brugnoni scored the final run on an infield single from Grove.
Andrew Marra struck out one and walked one in a hit-less ninth inning of relief for the save.
Chillicothe (8-6) will hit the road today for a two-game set with the West Virginia Miners. The Paints will return home Saturday for a two-game series with Lorain County.