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Locos drop season opener to Michigan

Jun. 5—LIMA — The start to Tuesday night's home opener was exactly what the Locos had hoped for. The finish, however, was a very different story.

After taking a 7-2 lead through four innings, the Locos (0-1) allowed the Michigan Monarchs (1-0) to plate 10 runs in the final three innings in a 12-8 loss at Simmons Field.

Michigan tied the game with five two-out runs in the seventh inning, then struck again for four more runs after Luke Geske struck out the first two hitters in the eighth inning.

"You have to give their guys credit. They had a lot of two-out, two-strike hits," said Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger. "We did a great job getting ahead in the count and they did a great job of winning the at-bat. At the end of the day, that's what matters."

The Locos stranded 19 baserunners in the loss, including four different times Monarchs pitchers escaped the inning with the bases loaded.

"Our message to the guys was to take note of their two-out approaches and compare them to ours," Ehrnsberger said. "Their approach was better tonight, but as long as we learn from this, it's a productive day."

Geske, a right-handed pitcher from Sarasota, Florida, took the loss after allowing four earned runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Austin Fisher, a native of Rochester, Michigan, was credited with the victory after pitching two scoreless innings, working around three hits and a walk, and striking out four batters.

The Locos scored three runs in the first inning off Logan McLaughlin, the Monarchs starting pitcher from Milford, Michigan. Two of those runs were unearned due to a pair of Michigan errors. Blake Bowen (Wooster, Ohio) had one of three hits in the inning for the Locos and was credited with the lone RBI.

Ehrnsberger handed the ball to Matteo Pare of Lasalle, Ontario for the start and Pare went four innings, allowed two earned runs in the third and limited the Monarchs to five hits in the no-decision. Pare finished his start with a 1-2-3 fourth inning.

"He dominated during the spring where he was at and we're going to see a whole lot more of that," Ehrnsberger said of his starter. "Tonight we didn't want to run his pitch count too high, but a couple of weeks from now he'll be going deeper into games."

The Locos added two runs in both the third and fourth innings.

Bo Shinkle (Olathe, Kansas) lined an RBI single over the bag at first and Landon Tate (Bishop, Georgia) drew a bases-loaded walk to put Lima up 5-2, then an error and fielder's choice made it 7-2 after four.

The Locos wouldn't score again until the bottom of the ninth when Liam Richards (Austin, Texas) plated Kaden Brown (Fairburn, Georgia) on a sacrifice fly.

Bo Shinkle, Jaxin Settlemires and Blake Bowen each had two hits in the loss.

Michigan got two-hit performances from Scoop Harden, Jacob Gumieny and Derek Ruiz. Ruiz was also one of three Monarchs to drive in a pair of runs.

Box score (r-h-e)

Michigan Monarchs 002000541 12-12-6

Lima Locos 302200001 8-10-1

Michigan Monarchs 12 (ab-r-h-rbi)

Kooper Ethridge 2-1-0-0, Tanner Mally 1-0-0-0, Kimo Fukofuka 4-3-1-1, Scoop Harden 5-2-2-1, Alex Cheeseman 3-2-0-2, Derek Ruiz 4-2-2-2, Cooper Middleton 1-0-1-2, Jacob Gumieny 5-0-2-0, Liam Pollock 5-1-1-0, Reginald Sharpe 3-1-1-0, Ryan Drumm 3-0-1-0, Alonzo Paul 2-0-1-0, Totals: 38-12-12-8

Lima Locos 8 (ab-r-h-rbi)

Justin Gorski 5-1-1-0, Landon Tate 5-0-1-1, Caden Lockwood 4-1-0-0, Kaden Brown 5-1-1-0, Blake Bowen 3-3-2-1, Tagger Tyson 5-2-1-0, Jaxin Settlemires 5-0-2-2, Liam Richards 3-0-0-1, Bo Shinkle 4-0-2-2, Totals: 39-8-10-7.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so)

W — Austin Fisher 2.0-1-0-0-3-4

L — Luke Geske 1.1-1-1-1-2-2

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter/X at @Lima_Howell