Scrapper offense stymied in 6-2 loss
NILES - It was a picture perfect night for baseball as the Scrappers looked to take the final game of their opening home-and-home series against the Jamestown Jammers Thursday. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t a sign of good things to come for the Scrappers, as they fell to the Jammers 6-2.
Pitcher Ryan Merritt was called on to play stopper for the Scrappers, making his first start of 2012. The slender lefty got himself into trouble early on, as he was penalized by Jammer hitters for working around the zone a little too often. Jammer hitters attacked Merritt early in the count, and were able to do some damage, plating a run in each of the first two innings while collecting five hits.
In the fourth, Merrit ran into more problems when he surrendered a pair of runs. He was able to avoid more trouble, though, as Jeremy Lucas threw out Jammer catcher Juancito Martinez at third on a double steal attempt. A two out single, however, drove in the run from second to give the Jammers a 4-1 advantage after four.
Merritt was finished after four innings, surrendering four runs on nine hits.
“He throws strikes, he keeps the ball around the plate, and he got hit tonight. He’s going to learn. It was just one of those outings,” remarked manager Ted Kubiak.
The Scrapper offense got on the board early as they managed a run in the first after Jose Ramirez scored on a wild pitch, but they didn’t make Jamestown starter Ryan Newell pay for issuing a pair of walks in the inning.
Jacob Esch relieved Ryan Newell after two innings. Scrapper hitters were never really able to do anything to make Esch sweat, as he breezed through the next four innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four.
The sixth inning did present the Scrappers with their first chance to put runs on the board since the first inning. A leadoff walk and two-out Mitch Nilsson single, which was the Scrappers first since Ramirez singled to leadoff the game, put Scrappers on the corners. But Esch caught Hunter Jones looking to put down the threat.
Santo Domingo native Rafael Homblert relieved Merritt in the fifth inning. He pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk. His earned run came by way of a Brian Dice solo home run to left field.
Righty Sean Donatello came in after Esch, but the results didn’t change. Donatello registered two solid innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Cody Penny and Luis Encarnacion split the last two innings of work for the Scrappers. It was Penny’s first appearance of the season and he gave up two hits and a run while notching a pair of strikeouts in his inning and two-thirds. Encarnacion allowed a walk and struck out one over an inning and a third.
The Scrappers bats were able to at least make the game interesting in the ninth when Juan Romero singled home Cameron Flynn with two outs. It was a case of too little, too late, however, as the Scrappers fell to 2-2 on the year. Newell came away with the victory, while Merrit was saddled with the loss.
Scrappers hitters were largely kept in check all night. They managed only five hits, and struck out six times.
“We didn’t hit much tonight, there’s no secret about that,” said Kukiak. “But these guys are working on stuff...the hitters just need to get used to the wrinkles and the breaking balls and then we’ll see what happens.”
The Scrappers leave town on Friday to start a three game set against the Spikes in State College.
-Indians 2012 draft pick Lucas Jeremy got his first start of the season, batting 8th and doing the catching. Lucas struggled with the stick like the rest of the Scrapper offense as he went 0-4 with a strikeout, but he did make a couple of strong throws from behind the plate to nab a pair of would-be base stealers. Lucas was selected in the 12th round out of Indiana State University.
-Tyler Naquin was absent from the lineup after going 3-for-4 with a stolen base in Wednesday night’s ballgame. The Indians are easing Naquin back into competitive baseball after he had a couple week layoff following the conclusion of Texas A&M’s season. He is scheduled to get four more at bats on Friday in State College.
-Pitcher Luis Morel was sent to Arizona Thursday. He only appeared in one game for the Scrappers, allowing two hits and one run in 2.1 innings and earned the win in the Scrappers’ first game of the year.
-Kubiak said after the game that infleider Jose Ramirez had just been promoted and would leave for Lake County Friday morning. Jose Ramirez was one of the lone bright spots in the ballgame, as he went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He also registered a fantastic defensive play, ranging to the other side of the diamond from his second base position and making a strong throw to first for a spectacular assist.
-Coming from Lake County to replace Ramirez is infielder Robel Garcia. In 63 games with Lake County he hit .210 with 16 extra-base hits, 27 walks and 68 strikeouts.
-The Indians came to terms with 21st round draft pick Joe Sever on Thursday. Sever, the nephew of two-time Super Bowl champion John Elway, is a second baseman the Indians drafted out of Pepperdine. He joined the team Thursday and is expected to be officially added to the roster in time for the Scrappers three-game set in State College. With the addition of Sever, the Scrappers now have twelve selections from the 2012 draft.