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Three Scrappers pitch no-hitter

Gomez, Melo, Doane combine on team's first gem in six years
September 1, 2013

Mahoning Valley may not be heading to the playoffs, but the Scrappers played like champs on Sunday.

Luis Gomez, Carlos Melo and Kerry Doane combined on the Scrappers' first no-hitter in six years as the Indians' short-season affiliate beat Batavia, 6-0, at Dwyer Stadium.

Gomez (1-2) struck out eight and walked one over a season-high six innings. Carlos Melo worked around a walk over the next two frames and Doane fanned two in the ninth to set off a celebration.

"It was actually pretty funny," Mahoning Valley pitching coach Scott Erickson said. "The whole team danced on the mound afterward. We've had kind of a rough season, so it's really nice to have a day like this. The bullpen all came running in to join in. It was pretty comical."

The game did not start well for Gomez, who issued a one-out walk in the first to Rehiner Cordova and hit Scott Carcaise in the face. After a delay while trainers tended to Carcaise, the 20-year-old left-hander got Victor Castro to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"[The double play] was actually on the next pitch," Erickson said. "They took a little bit to do concussion tests and everything and make sure the guy was all right. Then he threw a fastball middle-down and they rolled over it to the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play. Pretty easy from there."

Gomez retired his final 15 batters, striking out the side in the sixth. He threw 64 pitches in his longest outing since hurling seven shutout innings in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League on July 28, 2012.

"He had a really good breaking ball today. He kept it down a lot and it was really working coming in through the back door," said Erickson, who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1990-2006. "He threw strikes with it, which is always a plus."

Melo took over in the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Cordova before setting down the next six batters and handing the gem off to Doane. After Coco Johnson reached second on third baseman Grant Fink's error, Doane got Wildert Pujols on a comebacker and struck out Cordova and Jose Ceballos strikes out swinging.

"There's no doubt that Doane knew about it, and I'm sure Melo did, too, because he was cheering all along when he came back to the bench," Erickson said. "When he came out, he stayed right there and didn't leave, so you could tell he was excited for the possibility."

The no-hitter was Mahoning Valley's first since July 12, 2007, when Kelvin De La Cruz, Daniel Frega and Vinnie Pestano combined on a seven-inning gem against Vermont.

The Scrappers also became the 10th team in New York-Penn League history to pitch a no-hitter the same season in which it was no-hit. On Aug. 18, Williamsport's Yacksel Rios, Mark Meadors and Manny Martinez beat Mahoning Valley, 8-0.

Gomez's outing reversed a trend in which he surrendered 10 runs over 9 2/3 innings in his first two New York-Penn League starts.

"I think it really came down to that breaking ball being much better," Erickson said. "He threw it for strikes and was able to get it down against everyone. You know, it was going away pretty well against lefties and coming in on righties. And if you throw it well, that's tough."

Mahoning Valley never trailed after Claudio Batista led off the game with a double and scored one batter later on a base hit by James Roberts, who finished with three RBIs. Fink homered and plated two runs.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.