By MAT MIKESELL
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Ryan Light and the Quincy Gems show no signs of cooling off offensively.
It could mean they come home with the Prospect League championship.
Light's three-run home run was part of a six-run eighth inning as the Gems opened the league championship series with a 9-0 victory Sunday night over the Chillicothe Paints at QU Stadium.
The best-of-three series shifts to Chillicothe, Ohio, for the remainder of the series. Game 2 is Tuesday, and should the Paints win, Game 3 would be Wednesday.
"We know we want to get it done," Gems catcher Adam McGinnis said. "We want to get it done in one night, celebrate and bring the championship back to Quincy."
The way the Gems are hitting the ball, the odds are good.
Since being shutout on just hits by Danville in the divisional series opener, Quincy has scored 32 runs and collected 40 hits in the last three games.
"There couldn't be a better time," Light said. "This is it for us. The whole summer comes down to this and now that we're here, we're wanting to break out the sticks as much as possible."
Light's blast to right was his second in as many games. He recently adjusted his approach and focused more on hitting the ball to the opposite field.
"I've been seeing the ball better the last few weeks," Light said. "I hadn't had much to show for it, but now it's really starting to come on."
Luckily for the Gems, the rest of the lineup is, too.
Matt Marek followed Light with a three-run home run later in the inning after Cassidy Brown walked and Logan Bone singled to left. Light and Marek collected four RBIs apiece while eight Gems collected a least one hit.
"It was definitely the end of the game after that," Marek said. "It got the crowd going again and the team pumped. It felt good for everyone."
Although the eighth-inning outburst came against Chillicothe's bullpen, the Gems saddled Paints starter Keegan Akin with his first loss of the summer. Akin had been 2-0 in nine starts with a 2.20 earned-run average.
However, Quincy scored twice in the first with Light driving in the first run with a single. Demetre Taylor scored the second run with two outs when Akin threw a pickoff attempt to first as Dominic Miles was stealing second. Taylor broke for home and scored as Miles was safe at second.
Taylor went 2 for 3 with three runs scored.
"The middle of the season, we weren't hitting well," Taylor said. "Now everybody's on board."
The Gems extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Marek was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Jordan Sheinkop went 6 2/3 innings for the Gems, allowing just four hits to a Paints offense that had five players hit better than .300 in the regular season and three players with six or more home runs. Chillicothe's Ronnie Dawson hit 11 home runs to lead the Prospect League.
"I was just able to execute," Sheinkop said. "You definitely have to locate your off-speed quick or their going to nail the fastball. It was just a fun game."