NILES, OH- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the West Virginia Black Bears faced off in one of the strangest games of the season. On top of the contest lasting only seven innings the Scrappers had to loan part of their roster to West Virginia in order to play
NILES, OH- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the West Virginia Black Bears faced off in one of the strangest games of the season. On top of the contest lasting only seven innings the Scrappers had to loan part of their roster to West Virginia in order to play the contest. West Virginia had 10 hits but it wouldn’t be enough to hold off the Scrappers offensive attack.
West Virginia scored the first run of the night. Collin Gordon, who was loaned to West Virginia by the Scrappers due to positive COVID-19 tests, blasted a 415 foot solo shot in the top of the first (Prep Baseball Report). The dead center homer gave West Virginia a 1-0 lead.
The lead was doubled in the 2nd. Jason Thomas hit the second solo shot of the night over the left field wall. The 388 foot blast extended West Virginia’s lead to 2-0.
The Scrappers would answer and finally get into the scoring column in the bottom of the 2nd, when Jason Nall bloop singled home Jarrod Belbin from second base. The single cut the lead to 2-1, but the Scrappers’ momentum wouldn’t last long.
Once again, the players the Scrappers loaned to West Virginia played a big part in offensive production. Gordon led the inning off with a single and scored on the following play when Luis Navarro tripled down the third base line. Mark Herron Jr., another player loaned to West Virginia by the Scrappers drove Navarro home with a single to right field.
After going down 4-1, the Scrappers offense scraped away at the lead in the 3rd by adding a run. Trent “Buck” Anderson got the offense going with an infield single. After stealing second base he was singled home by Sam Crail, making it a 4-2 game in favor of West Virginia.
They’d strike again in the 4th and tie the game up. Jalen Jones was able to start the rally, getting on base due to a wild throw by West Virginia’s pitcher. Belbin followed with a single that put runners on first and second. After a strikeout Duncan Hewitt hit a double play ball back to the mound but an errant throw into center field allowed Jones to score and put Belbin on third. A few pitches later Hewitt was caught stealing second but the throw down allowed Belbin to rush home and tie the game at 4-4, just barely beating the throw back home.
The momentum continued into the 5th and the Scrappers took the lead. With one out Crail reached on an infield single. The meat of the order Bobby Sparling and Jason Hinchman would then do what they do best, drive in runs. Sparling tripled down the right field line and scored Crail from first. The next pitch Hinchman rocketed a ground-rule double into the left field bullpen. With two outs Belbin came in clutch again and added an insurance run, slapping a single to drive Hinchman in from second. The four hit inning gave the Scrappers a 7-4 lead and they wouldn’t look back.
West Virginia attempted to claw back in the 8th. Gordon drove in another with a double into the right center gap that closed the gap to 7-5. It wouldn't be enough though as reliever Yo Yo Nunez shut the door and recorded a four out save.
Offensively, the Scrappers combined for 11 hits. Sparling, the Baird Brothers Players of the Game led the way going 2-3 at the dish with a triple, single, walk, RBI and a run scored. He leads the league in hits with 63 along with a .371/.488/.547 slash line. Belbin also had a great game, he was 2-2 at the plate with two singles, a walk, RBI, stolen base and two runs scored. Crail also had three singles, he is now batting .310 on the season with 54 hits, second in the league.
The two players that the Scrappers donated contributed mightily to West Virginia’s offensive success. Gordon played third base and was just a triple shy of the cycle. He battered his teammates going 3-4 at the plate with a homer, double and single. Gordon also scored two and drove in two. Herron Jr., the other starter, was 1-4 with a single and an RBI.
The Scrappers will return to Eastwood Field tomorrow night looking to take a (2-0) series lead against West Virginia at 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field. With a win tomorrow could be the first time the Scrappers have reached the .500 mark since July 16. The Scrappers are currently (28-29-2).
Tomorrow is Autism Awareness Night a jersey auction will take place and proceeds will go to The Rich Center for Autism. It’s also Military Appreciation Night and you get two free upper box seat tickets with a military ID at the Chevy All-Stars Box Office presented by NECA/IBEW Electricians and 33 WYTV. Lastly it’s, $2 Pizza Slice Night presented by Pizza Joe's