No end in sight for offensive woes, Scrappers fall 2-1
NILES - It appeared that the Scrappers offense was poised to break out of their early season slump after showing some positive signs on Tuesday. Looks can be deceiving. The offense provided little positive to talk about on Wednesday, and despite solid pitching efforts, the Scrappers dropped their fifth game in six nights, losing 2-1 to the Williamsport Crosscutters.
After spending the better part of the last year and a half rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Robbie Aviles got his first chance to pitch in front of a home crowd at Eastwood Field. It was his second start of the season. His first start wasn’t stellar, as he allowed three runs in four innings, but he was certainly able to build on that work in his second.
Aviles is still working on returning to his pre-injury form, but he managed a very solid effort, making it through five innings while allowing only one run. He was effective with his two-seam fastball, getting nine Crosscutter batsmen to ground out.
“I was throwing the two-seamer a lot tonight. It was good. My first game was a little shaky, but I felt better tonight,” Aviles said on his start.
Aviles did give up five hits, but was really able to limit the damage with his only run coming off of a one out single in the second inning. It could have been worse, however. With runners at the corners and still only one out, Aviles benefited from a controversial double play call. Third baseman Joe Sever caught a hard liner from Williamsport second baseman Tyler Green, and beat Mitch Walding to the bag for an inning ending twin-killing.
The double play turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Aviles was able to get through his next three innings allowing minimal damage. He exited the game after five, allowing just the one run on five hits and a walk.
“It’s great being out here," Aviles said. "The feel, the atmosphere, the fans, everything’s just great here. I love it."
Unfortunately for him, the Scrapper offense was borderline atrocious after the second inning. In the second innings Joseph Wendle drew a one out walk and some nifty base running put him on third after Hunter Jones singled in the next at bat. Williamsport starter Delvin Perez then gave the Scrappers a much needed gift, balking home the run from third.
That was virtually it for the Scrappers. The final hint of life from the offense came via a Joseph Wendle single with two outs in the fourth. That life was promptly snuffed out, however, when Wendle was caught stealing to end the frame.
The Scrappers were retired in order from the fifth inning on as the at bats were mostly poor for the rest of the night. Aaron Siliga provided the only brief moment of excitement when he drove a ball to deep center field that ran out of legs on the track. Siliga’s final at bat was a reflection on what was no doubt running through the minds of everyone in the Scrapper dugout. He struck out looking to finish the game, and saw his frustration boil over as he exchanged words with home plate umpire Sam Vogt and had to be calmed by Charlie Velario, who was stranded on deck.
The offensive struggles put a damper in what turned out to be a fantastic relief appearance from Scrapper reliever Josh Martin. Martin picked up where he left off in his last start, when he gave up only one run in four innings of relief while striking out four.
Martin came into the game in the sixth inning and promptly surrendered a solo homerun to designated hitter Chris Serritella, giving the Crosscutters a 2-1 advantage. Martin walked a batter and gave up a single after that, but retired the rest of his batters in order, including striking out his final six. He finished with seven strikeouts on the night.
The solo homerun turned out to be the difference in the game, as Martin ended up the tough luck loser. Starter Delvin Perez picked up the win, his first on the year, and Zach Cooper was awarded the save, while Aviles was forced to settle for a no-decision.
The Scrappers will look to put their offensive woes behind them as they open a fresh three game set tomorrow night against the State College Spikes. First pitch is at 7:05.