CHILLICOTHE – Chillicothe starting pitcher Dylan Conley didn’t pitch poorly.
In fact, his final line in 31/3 innings included just one earned run. But the defense behind him wasn’t as crisp, and that, ultimately, cost the Cavaliers in a 5-0 loss to Licking Heights on Tuesday night in a Divison I sectional semifinal.
On the other hand, the Hornets’ defense was as solid as a rock, turning three inning-ending double plays and making the plays necessary to earn a victory.
The loss for Chillicothe ends a 2015 season in which it finished in the bottom half of the South Central Ohio League with a 3-11 mark and an overall record of 9-12.
In total, Chillicothe failed to score on five hits while committing three errors, each of which resulted in Licking Heights’ runs.
The Hornets got their five runs on eight hits — facing three Cavaliers pitchers — while committing two miscues.
Licking Heights got the scoring started with a two-out rally in the top of the second inning.
After Conley had retired the first two Hornets, Josh Nihiser misplayed a ball at shortstop, providing an opportunity that Licking Heights would take full advantage of.
Conley allowed the next batter to reach on a walk then surrendered a single to load the bases. The Hornets would then draw to additional base on balls to take an early 2-0 lead.
In the top of third, the Hornets would tack on on more run — making it 3-0 — after a hit by pitch, stolen base and RBI single in that order.
After the Cavaliers went down in order in the bottom half of the third, errors would once again haunt the team in the top half of the fourth.
With one out, the Hornets knocked Conley out of the game after putting together two singles and a walk. Jeff Webb would come on in relief for the Cavs, getting a 1-2 putout at the plate before forcing a ground ball to short.
What should’ve been the third out of the inning turned into yet another costly mistake. An errant throw to first base allowed two more Hornets to cross the plate, making it 5-0 Licking Heights, before the inning came to a close.
In Chillicothe’s last at-bat, Gage Jones would single only to be called out on the third double play turned by Licking Heights, effectively ending the Cavaliers’ 2015 campaign.
Conley (2-3) took the loss on the mound surrendering five hits, striking out two and allowing four free passes.
At the plate for the Cavs, Caleb Price went 2-3 with two singles; Jones, Jack Busch and Noah Jackson all had a hit each.