Another Shutout for Williamsport as Simmons and Rojas Sock Homers

By Bob Rotruck | August 17, 2019 10:17 PM

Morgantown, W.V. - The Crosscutters fired their second shutout in the last three games while Kendall Simmons (10th) and Johan Rojas (2nd) both blasted opposite-field home runs in a 4-0 win at West Virginia on Saturday night. Victor Vargas, Tyler Burch (W, 3-1) and Alejandro Made combined on the four-hitter as the Crosscutters won their third in a row.

Williamsport (25-36) has allowed just 10 hits and two runs in the last three games while lowering the team ERA to 2.97 which rates second in the NYPL. The Crosscutters also pitched a two-hit shutout at Auburn on Wednesday.

Kendall Simmons lifted his 10th home run, and first to the opposite way in right field, in the seventh inning to help build on a 2-0 lead. Then Johan Rojas did the same in the eighth. Simmons is second in the NYPL in home runs. On July 27 he had only two homers all season but since then has socked eight in his last 17 games.

Bryson Stott extended his hitting streak with a 2-for-4 night. Stott has two hits in four straight games and also in eight out of the last nine in his streak in which he has gone an incredible 17-for-35 (.486) with three doubles, one triple, and three home runs.

Vargas showed flashes of strong pitching in a 3.2 inning stint that included four walks. Then Burch dominated with his first out coming to end a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. He allowed a bunt single in the fifth but after that recorded 11 consecutive outs in his strongest performance of the season.

The Crosscutters opened the scored with a pair of unearned runs in the first and second frames off Braxton Ashcraft (1-9) who leads the league in losses. Kendall Simmons lifted a triple to right and was allowed to come home on a throwing error with the ball going out of play attempting to get him at third.

Jake Holmes' hot smash was ruled a tough error on the West Virginia third baseman Dean Lockery to lead off the second. He advanced on a single up the middle by Herbert Iser and a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Corbin Williams. A couple batters later, Bryson Stott beat out an infield single for an RBI to give the Crosscutters a 2-0 lead in the second. 

Vargas faced two runners in scoring position in the third inning but got Matt Frazier to strikeout to end the threat.

The fourth seemed to be going well with two outs but then will Matthiessen just missed a homer on his blast off the top of the wall in left-center that went for a double. Vargas then threw eight straight balls to walk the bases loaded prompting his removal in favor of Burch who induced a fly out of Dean Lockery to keep the Cutters up by a pair. 

Burch gave up a bunt single in the fifth but that would tun out to be the last base-runner for the Black Bears as Burch and Made would combine to retire the last 14 consecutive batters.

Simmons lifted a 1-1 pitch high and deep to right carrying over the fence into the Black Bears bullpen. His seventh-inning blast pushed the Williamsport advantage to 3-0.

Then Rojas did virtually the same thing to almost the same location in the eighth to complete the scoring. 

Williamsport aims for its fourth straight win on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at West Virginia when they send LHP Gabriel Yanez to the mound.


Cutters Carvings:

- D.J. Stewart was removed from the game in the second inning with a lower-body injuy after an awkward slide in second base on Stott's RBI infield single. Logan O'Hoppe replaced him as the designated hitter.

- Bryson Stott is on a nine-game hitting streak (17-for-35, .486) and has multiple hits in eight of those nine games.

- Both home runs that Rojas has hit this season have been to the opposite field.

- Williamsport has four nine-inning shutouts this season and all have come since July 27.

- The Crosscutters are 15-9 in the second half after going 10-27 in the first half of the season.

- Only 15 games remain in the regular season including eight home games.

- After Monday night's road-trip finale, the Crosscutters will have a two-day NYPL All-Star Break before returning to BB&T Ballpark on Thursday night against Mahoning Valley

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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