NILES, OH- In front of a packed house the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the West Virginia Black Bears played what was an extremely exciting game until the 8th inning. Scrappers pitching let them down hard in the 8th and 9th , allowing a combined 10 runs after they
NILES, OH- In front of a packed house the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the West Virginia Black Bears played what was an extremely exciting game until the 8th inning. Scrappers pitching let them down hard in the 8th and 9th , allowing a combined 10 runs after they battled back to tie the game at 6-6 in the 7th. The loss puts them nine games back in the MLB Draft League standings.
The Scrappers were able to get the ball rolling early. In the bottom of the 1st Jarrod Belbin led off the inning with a single and stole second base. After he advanced to third on a groundout and Bobby Sparling drove him in with a bloop single to shallow right.
West Virginia didn’t take long to tie things up. In the top of the 3rd Breydon Daniel smacked a one out triple into the right center field gap. He’d score the next pitch when Christian Lucio hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field.
The Black Bears kept the momentum going and snatched the lead in the top half of the 4th. Jesse Pierce doubled home Eric Santiago with a shot in the left center gap. With two outs Jason Thomas singled Santiago home to extend West Virginia’s lead to 3-1.
They’d add another in 4th to extend their lead again over the Scrappers. In an inning that looked like it was going to be three up, three down in favor of the Scrappers things took a twist with two outs. Luis Navarro who was down in an 0-2 count worked his way back to a full count and forced a walk. Andrew Miller slapped a single that allowed Navarro to advance to third. Right fielder Bobby Sparling’s throw to third allowed Miller to advance to second. Seeing Miller advance, Belbin the third baseman attempted to throw him out but made an errant throw that allowed Navarro to score from third.
In the 6th the Scrappers were able to load the bases with no out. Jack Kelly was able to drive in Jason Hinchman for the first run of the inning with a sac fly to center. Yo Yo Nunez came in clutch the next at-bat, dropping an RBI single into shallow left that scored Anthony Herron Jr. With runners on first and second with one out the offense wasn’t able to push anymore runs across and would end the inning still down, 4-3.
The Scrappers’ momentum would be short-lived. West Virginia extended their lead to 6-3 in the 7th. They’d benefit from erratic pitching. There was a hit batsmen, three wild pitches and two passed balls. While the first run of the inning scored on one of those wild pitches Miller also added an RBI single.
The bottom of the 7th the Scrappers’ offense threw an enormous counter punch. Sparling started the offensinsive onslaught with a double into right center. Hinchman followed with a full count walk putting runners on first and second. Down in an 0-2 count Herron Jr. crushed a double off the top of the wall scoring Sparling and putting runners on second and third. Ethan Kavanaugh followed with a line drive single into left field that cleared the bases and tied the game at six apiece.
West Virginia broke the tie once again in the 8th. They’d have three runners score on three back-to-back-to-back wild pitches. Scrappers’ pitchers threw nine for the whole game and four in the inning. Daniel also added an RBI double. Santiago added the fifth and final run of the inning with an RBI single giving West Virginia an 11-6 lead.
West Virginia added five more runs in the 8th giving them a 10 run lead. The first run scored on another wild pitch. Later in the inning Navarro launched a 376 foot grand slam that killed any chance of a Scrappers’ comeback in the bottom of the 9th (_Prep Baseball Report_).
While the pitching was painful to watch, the Scrappers’ offense was great. They totalled eight hits and every starter reached base once except for one player. Sparling and Herron Jr. led the way offensively. Herron Jr. was 2-4 with a single, double, RBI and two runs scored. Sparling added to his league leading hit total going 2-4 with a walk, single and a double his 51st and 52nd hits of the season. He also drove in and scored a run.
After dropping game one 16-6 to West Virginia the Scrappers will return to Eastwood Field tomorrow night for game two of the series at 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field with hopes of bouncing back.
Tomorrow's promo is an Ed O'Neill Bobblehead Giveaway (1st 1,000 fans) presented by Eastwood Mall Complex & 21 WFMJ. O’Neill was born in Youngstown, Ohio and is known mainly for his roles as Al Bundy in Married... With Children and Jay Pritchett in Modern Family (_IMDB_).