Cutters Rally From Behind in Thriller at Mahoning Valley

July 9, 2019 10:55 PM

Niles, Ohio - The Crosscutters overcame a late 4-3 deficit and then hung on for a thrilling 6-5 win at the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Tuesday night. Williamsport took the rubber-match game of the series and won their second straight game.

 

Tom Sutera (1-3) racked up a career-best seven strikeouts in relief and picked up his first professional win. Omar Maldonado recorded three straight outs to work out of a jam in the ninth and strande the tying and winning runs in scoring position for a heart-stopping first career professional save.

 

Juan Aparicio crushed a long home run over both tiers of billboards in left for his first home run of the season to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the eighth.

 

The two teams continually found themselves tied and trading leads throughout the topsy-turvy and immensely entertaining game.

 

Brayan Rocchio hit an RBI double for Mahoning Valley to put the Scrappers up against starter Carlos Francisco in the first.

 

But the Cutters pushed across a pair in the second against first-rounder Ethan Hankins including an RBI bunt single for Nicolas Torres to tie the game at 1-1. Torres had five hits in the three-game series. Markwardt's sacrifice fly made it 2-1.

 

Mahoning Valley was back on top with a pair of runs against Francisco in the fourth. Right after Francisco thought he had worked out of the innings with a pitch he believed to be strike three, the Scrappers were able to take advantage of their extra life. Henderson De Oleo drove in a pair with his hit off reliever Tom Sutera for a 3-2 lead.

 

The Cutters tied it in the fifth on Markwardt's second sacrifice fly out after Brayan Gonzalez had walked and stolen second and then alertly popped to his feet to take third on a throw bouncing away.

 

Michael Cooper's double in the sixth put the Scrappers back up 4-3. Then the Cutters had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh but reliever Brian Eichorn induced a pair of pop-outs to work out of it and preserve the lead. 

 

That set the stage for Juan Aparicio to blast his first home run of the season on a no doubter to left. His solo shot to open the eighth had tied the score at 4-4. Then it was D.J. Stewart doubling down the left field line. He made a sharp play to hustle back to tag up on a fly out to right setting himself to be able to score the go-ahead run on a subsequent wild pitch.

 

Markwardt legged out an infield single in the ninth and came and advanced to second on a throwing error on the play. Then he scored a pivotal run when Herbert Iser reached on an error putting the Cutters up 6-4 which was the first two-run lead of the game for either side.

 

Three straight singles off Brian Marconi pulled the Scrappers to within a run with Korey Holland's RBI knock making it 6-5. But Omar Maldonado finished the night with a flourish inducing a hard line out by Bryan Lavastida and then two weak ground outs by Brayan Rocchio and Ray Delgado.

 

Hunter Markwardt produced a pair of RBI's on sacrifice flies and went 2-for-2 with a valuable insurance run in the ninth that proved to be the difference.

 

Corbin Williams snagged a couple more stolen bases and leads the New York-Penn League with 11 swipes.

 

The Crosscutters return home on Wednesday to open a three-game series with the Vermont Lake Monsters. RHP Jose Conopoima is the expected starting pitcher for the Cutters.

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

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