‘Cutters deal Scrappers fourth straight loss
WILLIAMSPORT - After getting swept in Troy by the ValleyCats, the Scrappers hoped the home turf of Eastwood Field would provide some much needed momentum. It wasn’t friendly Tuesday, however. The Scrappers only gathered six hits in contest, losing their fourth straight game after dropping Tuesday’s opener with the Williamsport Crosscutters 6-2.
The lack of offense for the Scrappers has been due in part to the caliber of pitchers they have run into as of late. After facing a Tri-City team that boasts the best ERA in the New York-Penn League, they ran into Kevin Brady, a pitcher that has only allowed one earned run in his brief stint with Williamsport. He had made three starts prior, and entered with a stellar 0.69 ERA.
Brady established his dominance early, giving up only one base hit and facing the minimum through the first three innings.
“We work with these guys everyday to try and make adjustments,” said Manager Ted Kubiak of the pitching his hitters have faced recently. “Tri-City had one of the better teams in the league, Vermont had some decent pitching, you just have to learn to deal with it, that’s all.”
Jake Sisco took the mound for the Scrappers, and was every bit as impressive early. He tossed three shutout innings of his own, only allowing a base runner on a passed ball following a strikeout.
In the fourth, the Crosscutter offense finally broke the stalemate, as Kyle Hoppy hit a leadoff fly ball that just barely cleared the wall in right-center to give his team a 1-0 lead. Then in the fifth, Sisco issued a leadoff walk that came back to bite him, as the Crosscutters second hit of the gamecame with two-outs when nine-hole hitter Tyler Greene launched his second homerun of the season to right field. They added one more in the fifth whenSisco issued a two-out walk followed by an RBI single from Hoppy to make it a 4-0 game.
Sisco allowed one more in the sixth, on a sacrifice fly from Yan Olmo. He finished after six, allowing five earned runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Facing a 5-0 hole, the Scrapper offense finally showed some life after being mostly stagnant in the first five innings. After only collecting two hits through the first five innings, they doubled that total in the sixth en route to putting a pair of runs on the board. Robel Garcia started the action with a one-out single. Then the Scrappers got a gift, as the shortstop Roman Quinn pulled his second baseman off the bag at second on what would have been a force out after a Hunter Jones grounder. Instead, the Scrappers had runners on first and second for Joey Wendle, who tripled to deep right center to score both runners and make it a 5-2 ballgame.
Wendle has been a lone bright spot in what has been a struggling Scrapper offense. He has torched NYPL pitchers all year, carrying a team-leading .338 average on theseason and batting .350 over his last ten games. In addition, he also currently leads the team in slugging percentage at .527 and OPS at .915.
“It hasn’t been that big of an adjustment since I’ve played summer ball,” said Wendle of his first professional season. “Obviously the competition is better, but the quantity of games is similar to what I’ve played in the past. I worked really hard this offseason hoping this was the opportunity I’d get, and I’ve been lucky enough to get it, so I feel well prepared physically.”
Wendle had another solid day, finished 3-4 with the triple and two RBI’s. Unfortunately the rest of the offense was nowhere to be found. After the runs in the sixth, the Scrappers went in order in the seventh and eighth.
The Williamsport offense didn’t let up, though, grabbing a big insurance run in the eighth off of reliever Jake Sisco to force the Scrappers to come back from a four run hole in the bottom of the ninth. They made noise in the inning, after Hunter Jones and, who else, Joey Wendle led off the frame with back-to-back singles, but a strikeout and double play ended any hope of the Scrappers erasing thedeficit.
“I didn’t expect it to happen the way it did, but we had some trouble with a pretty good fastball for six innings,” said Kubiak. “They had a couple of guys who weren’t hitting much hit homeruns, that’s the way the game goes.”
“Over time, everybody gets tired. We just have to learn how to play through it. Everybody gets aches, and pains and bruises, and some of them think they can’t play with that. They’ve got to learn that that’s the way the game’s going to go. They do the best they can with it, and we do the best we can with them.”
With that, the Scrappers dropped their fourth straight and fifth in their last six. Sisco was charged with the loss in the game, with the starter Brady picking up the win. The Scrappers will look to earn a split Wednesday, as they finish up the brief home stand at 7:05.