Four players had two hits and Chillicothe scored at least one run in all but three innings in a 6-2 victory over Butler Thursday in the deciding game of the East Division playoffs.
The win capped a two-game sweep of the BlueSox in the division series and gave the Paints their first division title since 2010. It also pushed the Paints into the championship series, where they will face the winner of Friday's winner-take-all Game 3 of the West Division playoffs between Butler and Quincy.
Chillicothe trailed only once in the game, and not for long. After the Paints took an early lead in the first inning when T.J. Diffenderfer drove home Ronnie Dawson, Butler bounced back with its only big inning of the series -- a two-run fourth off Paints starter Lance Elder capped by RBIs by Collin Massanelli and Forrest Perron.
The Paints came right back in the bottom of the inning when Greg Rhude led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Deion Tansel, went to third on a right-side grounder by Chad Sedio, then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Chillicothe took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth when Dawson basically stole a run when he broke from third late on a ground ball by Matt Hopfner, and slid under the tag at the plate.
The team added two insurance runs in the sixth on RBIs by Tansel and Zach Jacobs -- Jacobs getting his on an old-fashioned suicide squeeze -- then tacked on another in the eighth when Dawson drove in Tansel with a sacrifice fly.
Elder gave up seven hits and two runs -- all earned -- in his 5 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking two along the way. Bryce Arledge worked two shutout innings of relief, and Trace Dempsey earned the save by striking out the side in the ninth.
The win earned the Paints their first division title since 2010, and also earned them an extra day off before hitting the championship series on Sunday. Their opponent in the next round will be decided on Friday, when Danville will host Quincy with the series tied at one win each. First pitch of the deciding game will be at 6:30 p.m. in Danville.