Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When Chillicothe decided to intentionally walk Unioto’s Landyn Patterson in the top of the sixth inning Tuesday night, Braxton Platt took notice.
Platt, who hit after Patterson, had an opportunity to come to the plate with the bases loaded in a 5-5 ballgame and proceeded to make the Cavaliers pay for the aforementioned decision.
The sophomore laced a pitch into left field, giving his Shermans their first since the first inning and putting them ahead for good.
“Braxton has kind of been struggling a bit here and he’s been batting the four-hole,” Unioto coach Tony Taylor said. “So I switched him and Landyn [Patterson] around and sometimes when you do that, the lights come on. That happened tonight and Braxton was right on the money.”
Platt’s RBI single made it a 6-5 ballgame before Unioto (12-3) scored three insurance runs throughout the rest of the way to take home a come-from-behind 9-5 victory.
The win followed the team’s first league loss of the season — an 8-7 decision to Huntington on Monday — and came after they erased an early four-run deficit.
“I’m happy with how we bounced back after a loss, especially after being down early tonight,” Taylor said. “We battled right back and won the game. That’s a good sign for us.”
Unioto took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Platt knocked in Cameron DeBord with an seeing-eye RBI single. However, Chillicothe (5-9) had an answer in the bottom half when Kaden Riffe and Ray Byers each knocked in runs for a 2-1 lead.
That lead grew to 3-1 in the second inning, when Shawn Cutright knocked in Lucas Rinehart with an RBI single, before swelling to 5-1 in the fourth, when Drew Seymour logged a two-run single that plated Rinehart and Cutright.
That was the end of the line for Tanks starter Lakoda Farmer, who threw well. The senior scattered six hits in four innings, surrendered just two earned runs and struck out a trio.
Farmer’s exit opened the door for Andrew Lemaster, who was lights out the rest of the way.
“Changing up my speeds really worked for me,” Lemaster said. “There’s a big drop in speed between my fastball and my change-up. That was huge.”
While Farmer went to work, so did Unioto’s bats.
In the top of the fifth, after the Shermans loaded the bases, Patterson was plunked by a pitch for a 5-2 tally. Platt then worked a four-pitch walk to make it 5-3 before Dewey Dailey logged a two-run single to tie the game heading into the sixth.
After the Cavaliers stranded a runner, both Cameron and Carson DeBord singled to put two on with one out. That’s when Patterson got an intentional pass and Platt delivered the lead.
With a 6-5 lead intact, Dailey then grounded out to knock in another run before Lemaster delivered the knockout blow. On the first pitch he saw, he sent a deep drive into the left-center field gap to clear the bases and make it a 9-5 ballgame.
“It was pretty much just going up there with the mindset to have a good at-bat,” Lemaster said. “Not trying to go yard and hack at the first pitch. That’s what we were doing earlier in the game. But when we stayed up there and saw a couple of pitches, we drove the ball.”
Lemaster’s final pitching line consisted of a win, three innings pitched, two hits allowed and two strikeouts. He was also 1-for-4 at the dish with a triple and two big-time RBIs.
Platt led Unioto’s offense with a 3-for-3 effort alongside a run and three RBIs. Cameron DeBord went 2-for-3 with three runs while Dewey Dailey was 1-for-4 with three RBIs.
As for Chillicothe, Seymour paced the offense by going 3-for-4 with a run and three RBIs. Mason Doughty was 1-for-3 with a double, and Shawn Cutright went 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
Unioto is back in action Wednesday night, hosting Paint Valley, while Chillicothe attempts to bounce back at home against Miami Trace.
“The good thing with these non-league games is you’re looking for guys who can eat innings up,” Taylor said. “The guys did a good job of that. The last time we played [at VA Memorial Stadium], we went through five pitchers. Tonight, we went through two. So that’s a plus. But defensively, we have to play better. We booted some routine balls tonight and that’s not us.”