Mill Rats lose game, division lead

Slow start leads to Johnstown’s 11-7 loss to Champion City

By Riley Holsinger

For The Johnstown Mill Rats

The Johnstown Mill Rats [10-8 second half record, 17-30 overall] got off to a slow start that they could never come back from in the 11-7 loss to the Champion City Kings [4-12, 21-24]. Johnstown found itself trying to catch back up to Champion City after trailing 7-2 in the fifth inning.

“We had a lot of opportunities as an offense tonight to have big innings, we just couldn’t come through,” Mill Rats Manager Parker Lynn said.

In the loss, Johnstown stranded 11 runners on base.

“We needed that one or two big hit to open up the [game],” Lynn said.

The Mill Rats offense did see a lot more run production in this game with seven runs compared to the past two games combined.

“[I’m] happy that the offense has gotten back to where we used to be,” Lynn said. “We need to carry this momentum moving forward.”

After a scoreless first inning by both teams, Champion City scored two runs in the second and third innings. Johnstown answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third inning to trail 4-2.

Trey Lipscomb scored all of Johnstown’s runs in the win against Champion City in the first game of the series in the 3-2 win. Lipscomb kept his stellar performance going into this matchup as he hit a two-run double to score DJ Alexander and Christian Scott.

Champion City added one run in the fourth and two in the fifth to go up 7-2.

The Mill Rats battled back once again, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to two.

With runners at the corners, Ryan McCarthy hit an RBI single to bring in Ben Newbert and move Nick Hess to second.

Champion City replaced starting pitcher Aiden Major with Caden Kline after the McCarthy single. Kline had control issues and walked Pete Capobianco and Blaze Rickerson. During the Rickerson at bat, Hess took advantage of a Kline wild pitch to score.

Alexander came up to the plate with bases loaded and Kline walked him as well. Hess scored off of the walk and Johnstown trailed 7-5 after that inning.

Champion City put the game further out of reach with a big four run seventh inning to stay up 11-5. Johnstown would score its final two runs in the eighth inning.

Rickerson and Alexander were walked to start the inning. Scott hit a double to center field to score Rickerson. Then Lipscomb grounded into a fielder’s choice but brought home Alexander.

With the loss and Chillicothe’s win, Johnstown has fell to second place in the division for the second half of the season. The Mill Rats travel to West Virginia to play the Miners tomorrow night at 6:35.

Full box score of the game here: