New face arrive for Scrappers, but they drop double dip
NILES - A night after a rain-soaked Eastwood Field forced a delay of the last Scrapper home stand, a clear and breezy August evening provided the perfect backdrop for a double dip with the Doubledays. For the Scrapper faithful, it may have looked like a different team than the one that they saw hit the road a week ago.
Just before their six game road trip last Tuesday, theScrappers added their first new face in the way of Dorssys Paulino. As if Arizona wasn’t already hot enough, Paulino set it ablaze with his bat. In 172 AB’s he racked up 61 hits, including 14 doubles, six triples, and six homeruns. Those numbers were good enough to earn him an average of .355, and a slugging percentage of .610. Not too shabby. He collected three hits on the night, two in the first game that included an RBI, and two in the second.
The good people of Niles welcomed in a few more unfamiliar bodies, as they got their first looks at catcher Eric Haase and third baseman Jorge Martinez. Martinez came to Mahoning Valley with the same sizzle as Paulino, as he batted hefty .347 inArizona with 24 extra-base hits. Eric Haase wasn’t quite that hot, batting a respectable .282 in 28 games. Both were in the lineup in the second game of the doubleheader, and both walked, but neither got a hit.
And finally they welcomed back a player that they should recognize, though the recollection may be a bit hazy. Outfielder Logan Vick finally returned to the Scrapper lineup after being absent with injury. His last game action was August 12th, and his last home game was August 8th. He was the designated hitter in the second game, going 1-3 with a single.
But just as they welcomed in a few new players to cheer for in the waning moments of the short season, they said goodbye to a couple players who won’t again touch the Eastwood Field grass.
It was announced shortly after the game that Charlie Valerio would leave Wednesday to aid the Captains in their push for the playoffs. Valerio hasn’t been the Scrappers best hitter by most metrics, but he has been one of the Scrappers most productive hitters, leading the squad with 35 RBIs. Not only that, but he’s been a leader for the pitching staff. He’ll likely reunite with many of those same pitchers in the near future, but never again in the Scrapper blue.
Also playing his last game in front of the Eastwood crowd was Luis Dejesus. Dejesus made what was likely his last start at home in Mahoning Valley in game two Tuesday, pitching only the second complete game in Scrapper history in the short seven-inning game. He will certainly be missed. Though not an overpowering arm by any stretch, Dejesus dazzled the home crowd, carrying a splendid 2.57 ERA at home in 43 innings at Eastwood Field. He didn’t blow batters away, registering only 45 K’s in his 67 innings, but his ability to locate and limit damage gave his home spectators hope night in and night out.
“I learned a lot this year,” reflected Dejesus. “I think I got better with my command coming out here. I learned a lot of sequences, how to pitch to batters, and I picked up a lot more confidence in my pitchers this year than I had last year.”
With his time in Mahoning Valley nearing a close, Dejesus will look for a productive offseason to help usher in a second season of outstanding productivity.
“I got invited to instructional league,” said Dejesus of his offseason plans. “Apart from that I’m going to go home and work out with my brothers, I’m going to lift a lot so I can get big in my legs, and do a lot of long toss.”
New faces and old, the Scrappers had a different makeup than they did a week ago. But that new makeup didn’t bring immediate results to a team that has struggled at home. In their last ten games in Niles, the Scrappers have gone just 1-9. They didn’t do much to turn that around Tuesday, losing both games in the set.
Jake Sisco pitched the first game, and gave up six runs on six hits in four innings. That was too much for the offense to overcome, as they could only muster two of their own with the counterattack. Those runs came in the third, when Joey Wendle ripped an RBI double, and Dorssys Paulino followed with an RBI single. It wasn’t enough, as Batavia eneded up 6-2 winners.
In game two, the difference was one pitch. Starter Luis Dejesus gave up a solo homerunto Danny Steinstra in the third that landed on top of the indoor batting cage. That was it. The Scrappers scattered around five hits in the seven-inning contest, but couldn’t bring home a run. That made Dejesus the tough luck loser, as he tossed all seven games but lost 1-0.
With the doubleheader in the books and out of playoff contention, the Scrappers will bid adieu to those they are losing, take their players, new and old, and look to finish out the season on a positive note. That begins Wednesday night, as they will look to turn the Muckdogs away from the sweep at 7:05.