The Chillicothe Paints pounded out 18 hits and led from start to finish Tuesday night in a 12-8 Prospect League win over the Johnstown Mill Rats at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
Three different Paints had at least four hits on the night, with Colin Summerhill leading the way by going 4-for-6 with six RBIs, including a solo homer. Trey Smith finished 4-for-5 and scored five runs, while Jake Shier went 4-for-6 and drove in a pair to help Chillicothe (9-9 second half, 26-21 overall) pull within 1½ games of the Ohio River Valley Division-leading Mill Rats (9-6, 16-28) in the Prospect League second-half standings.
The Paints jumped out to a six-run third-inning lead, but Johnstown eventually closed the gap to 9-7 in the sixth before Chillicothe added several late insurance runs.
“We’re used to being resilient and having to scratch and claw from behind,” said Mill Rats manager Parker Lynn. “Tonight our offense didn’t have enough to get us back to where we needed to be.”
Ben Newbert hit his team-leading eighth home run and finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Johnstown, with teammates D.J. Alexander, Damian Yenzi, and Andre Good each adding two hits.
Summerhill got the Paints going in the top of the first with a one-out round-tripper to deep center field.
Kent Reeser followed with a double and later scored on Ben Gbur’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Johnstown got one back in the home half of the frame when Renzi drew a leadoff walk and came home on Newbert’s two-out run-scoring single.
However, Chillicothe came right back with three more in the top of the second.
Consecutive base hits by Smith, Shier, and Summerhill made it 3-1, and Shier then came home on the front end of a double steal. Gbur was subsequently hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the fifth Paints run.
Summerhill lined a two-run single to left with the bases loaded in the top of the third to stretch Chillicothe’s lead to 7-1 before Johnstown narrowed the gap in the bottom of the frame on Newbert’s two-run homer.
Good scored on a wild pitch after singling with one out in the fourth to make it 7-4, but Shier’s run-scoring triple helped the Paints tack on two runs in the top of the fifth.
Yenzi’s two-run single and Trey Lipscomb’s sacrifice fly pulled the Mill Rats within 9-7 in the sixth, but that was as close as it would get. Summerhill added to his big night at the plate with a run-scoring grounder in the seventh and an RBI single in the ninth to give the Paints enough to put the contest out of reach.
The teams conclude the two-game series Wednesday night as the Mill Rats will look to stay ahead of the Paints.
“We control our own destiny,” said Lynn. “We just have to go out and take care of business.”