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Merritt and Valerio lead Scrappers to victory

Merritt and Valerio lead Scrappers to victory
July 24, 2012
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Williamsport--The Scrappers picked up a win in the first of two on the road in Williamsport, as they beat the Crosscutters 3-1.  With the win, the Scrappers are have won three of their last four games after suffering a three-game losing streak.
It was again a night where the Scrappers didn’t pick up a lot of offense, collecting only five hits in the contest, but got stellar pitching to make a slim lead hold up.  That slim lead came early, as the Scrappers were able to put three on the board early. 
They grabbed their first run in the second, when Hunter Jones singled Jeremy Lucas home from second base.  They added two more in the third when with two outs and Tyler Naquin on first after a walk, Charlie Valerio launched his fourth homerun of the year.  The two RBI gave him 22 on the season, good enough for the team lead in the category, and good enough to give the Scrappers a 3-0 lead after three.
The beneficiary of the early runs was Ryan Merrit, who got the start for the Scrappers.  Merrit entered coming off of his best start of the year, where he went seven innings allowing only one earned run on four hits with five strikeouts.  He wasn’t quite that good Monday night, but he was solid.  He did allow a base runner in each of the first three innings, but kept the Crosscutters from stringing together hits to avoid damage. 
Merrit did run into trouble in the fourth, allowing a leadoff double to Christopher Serritella.  After moving to third on a groundout, Serritella was cut down at theplate by third baseman Erick Gonzalez on a fielder’s choice to save a run.  Brian Pointer followed with a double that scored the run from first, however, giving the Crosscutters their first run, and making the score 3-1 after four.
Williamsport would again threaten in the fifth, putting a runner on second after a single and a throwing error by Gonzalez.  They were unable to capitalize however, as Merrit finished after five allowing just the one earned run on six hits and a walk while striking out one.  Crosscutter starter Luis Gonzalez also exited after five.
With the starters gone, both bullpens were simply stellar.  James Stokes and Cody Penny each pitched two innings; Stokes the sixth and seventh, and Penny the eighth and ninth.  Stokes only allowed one hit while striking out a pair, and Penny didn’t allow a base runner.  The opposing bullpen was just as good, as Jeb Stefan and Geoff Broussard each allowed only one hit in a combined four innings of work, but with their offense unable to close the gap, the Scrappers held on to pick up a 3-1 victory.
Starter Merrit snagged the win, his third of the season.  Stokes and Penny picked up the hold and save, respectively.  Gonzalez took the loss for Williamsport.  The Scrappers will finish up their short two game road trip tomorrow night before returning home to Eastwood Field for a six game home stand. 

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