Jason Byers was strong over his six innings and the Paints rode the strength of two big innings on their way to a 5-0 win over Butler and an early lead in the Division Playoffs.
Byers struck out four, walked two and gave up three hits on his way to the win, and Ronnie Dawson, Joe Hoscheit, Matt Hopfner, Greg Rhude and Deion Tansel each drove in a run as the Paints rolled to the win in the first game of the best-two-of-three East Division playoffs.
For the Paints, it was another milestone win in a milestone season.
For the first time in the six-year Prospect League era, the Paints won 40 games during the regular season this summer. On top of that, 2014 was a season in which the franchise won its 200th Prospect League game, and it was a season in which manager Greg Cypret got his 100th Prospect League victory. But Wednesday's win over the BlueSox was a milestone of its own as the team's first playoff victory -- in four tries -- since the championship season of 2010.
And it wasn't easy.
Byers worked out of scoring-position jams in the first, the fourth and the fifth, and reliever Jason Johnson gave up two hits but wiggled out of trouble in his first inning to preserve the shutout. Overall, Butler stranded nine runners against Byers and Johnson, without Paints pitchers giving up a key hit along the way.
Offensively, Chillicothe scored twice in the third when Dawson drove in Deion Tansel with a sacrifice fly and Hoscheit pushed Zach Jacobs across with a single. The Paints added three insurance runs in the sixth when Matt Hopfner's sacrifice fly scored Hoscheit, and Rhude and Tansel followed with RBI hits.
With the Paints riding a five-run lead, Greg Rhude took over on the mound for the final inning and struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory.
The Paints will return to VA Memorial Stadium for the second game of the Division Playoffs with Thirsty Thursday, with draught beer selling for only $1. The Paints can wrap up the Division Playoffs with a win, but Butler can force a third game with a victory. If that happens, Game 3 of the series will be played on Friday at VA, with the first pitch on both nights scheduled for 7:05pm.