Chillicothe Paints
Brock Netter

Brock Netter

Brock is SOSA's primary writer and has worked for the Coshocton Tribune, the Kankakee Daily Journal (Ill.) and the Vinton-Jackson Courier. He's a two-time award-winning journalist, a lifelong WWE fan, a suffering Bengals fan and calls the sidelines his home.

Paints now riding 10-game winning streak, looking to build off momentum

The Chillicothe Paints have soared to 10 straight wins after Wednesday's victory.

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

CHILLICOTHE — Remember when the Chillicothe Paints started the season with three straight losses? Or when the team was 4-9 in their opening 13 games?

It’s eerily similar to their 2-7 start back in the 2019 season, and we all know how that ended. With the Paints hoisting up a championship trophy in August.

Just two weeks ago, the Paints were sitting at 7-12, following a 7-6 road loss to the Danville Dans on June 18. Since, they’ve outscored their opponents by a 127-50 margin and have notched 10-plus runs in a single game on six occasions, including a 30-2 win over the Terre Haute Rex.

All of that has equaled a 10-game winning streak to end the first half of the season at 17-12, which was tied with the Champion City Kings for the second-best record in the East Division behind the Lafayette Aviators.

“Every single night, I think our guys have this feeling and know that if they don’t get the job done, then the guy behind them will,” Paints Manager John Penn said. “It takes a lot of pressure off hitters at the plate to not have to do so much. I used a quote earlier in the week saying, ‘You don’t have to have success to add value.’ All of the guys have found a way to add value no matter who is in the lineup.

“Sure, it’s easy when you win games 30-2 and you’re putting up 10-plus runs, but those games don’t happen every night. Close games happen and you have to have solid pitching to get you through. Our starters have done a good job of throwing strikes and our bullpen has given them really solid backup. You can see the guys building that chemistry together and it’s a great thing to see.”

Wednesday night’s win was the cherry on top of said winning streak as Chillicothe scored 12 runs in the final three innings to move past the Johnston Mill Rats with a 13-4 victory.

The Paints trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, but took a 3-2 lead following a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch.

Then Ben Gbur stepped up and sent a moonshot over the scoreboard for a grand slam that broke the game wide open at 7-2, ultimately allowing the Paints to pull away for the win.

“Even when you’re winning, a shot like that just takes so much pressure off and lets you breathe, even as a manager,” Penn said. “Hitting a 10-game win streak is incredible and continues this momentum that we’ve generated. But what we did for 10 games doesn’t matter anymore because it’s now a new season.”

As the Paints enter the final 31 games of the season, it’s all about staying even-keeled. Baseball has a way of taking you on cloud nine and quickly snatching all levels of comfort away.

The team is as healthy as it’s going to get, playing with all the momentum in the world and forming chemistry at the right time. Now the margin for error becomes razor thin as teams begin to think about the playoff picture.

“It’s our job as coaches to continue pressing the right buttons and keeping guys motivated to continue performing well,” Penn said. “There’s still things we have to work on and improve. I want to see more line drive hits instead of trying to have a home run derby every game. Most of the time, it just leads to fly outs and that’s not how you win games. Back-to-back championships is the goal and we’ll continue playing hard while finding ways to be better.” 

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