Scrappers come through in clutch for 3-2 win
Niles, OH – After a disappointing three-game stretch to start the week, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers rectified the woeful start with a dramatic, walk-off victory Friday night, defeating the Hudson Valley Renegades 3-2.
The win snaps a three-game skid for the Scrappers and evens their August record at 3-3. Mahoning Valley starting pitcher Caleb Hamrick threw well, and defensive miscues continued to be an area of weakness for the Scrappers. But clutch hitting can be the difference maker for a team, and that was the case Friday night.
While the Scrappers trailed the entire night, second baseman Paul Hendrix changed all of that in the bottom of the ninth. Shortstop James Roberts led off the inning, followed immediately by a single by first baseman Nellie Rodriguez. With two-on and nobody out, Manager Ted Kubiak opted to bunt left fielder Josh McAdams in order to advance both runners into scoring position. The plan backfired, however, as pitcher Rick Teasley was able to throw Roberts out at third base, leaving Rodriguez at second and McAdams at first. Hendrix then stepped in and hit a screamer down the right-field line, scoring the tying and winning runs. McAdams slid into home plate just as catcher Oscar Hernandez received the throw. Hendrix was just trying to put good wood on the ball, saying, “I was just staying with my approach I had the entire game and I saw a pitch I was able to attack. I just tried to stick it in right field and I got a pitch to do it.”
The Renegades were having their own problems heading into Friday, losing five straight and eight of their last nine. Hudson Valley received a great effort from pitcher Chris Kirsch, a lefty out of Lackawanna (PA) College. The former 14th rounder threw six innings, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out four. He did not issue a walk. Teasley entered in the top half of the seventh and pitched well until the ninth. Entering the final inning, the lefty allowed just one hit and zero walks. But the Scrappers got to him in the ninth, and Teasley finished the night allowing two earned runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings.
For the Scrappers, Hamrick chipped in one of his better performances of 2013, lasting five innings and surrendering just one earned run. The righty out of Cedar Hills (TX) High School allowed six hits to go along with one walk and four strikeouts. He threw 42 of his 71 pitches for strikes, good for a 59% rate. Reliever Ben Heller wasn’t as sharp as his usual self, but did his part to work out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings. But the defense let him down in the sixth, allowing an unearned run to cross the plate and ultimately costing Mahoning Valley the game. In the inning, Heller got catcher Oscar Hernandez to ground out to lead off the inning, but third baseman Tyler Young and shortstop Darryl George then knocked back-to-back singles. With one out, designated hitter Granden Goetzman then flew out to deep right. Right fielder Joel Mejia threw a seed to third baseman Claudio Bautista attempting to cut the down the runner. The runner was safe, and Bautista then tried to cut down the runner advancing from first base to second. A good throw would have nailed the runner, but Bautista launched the ball into right-center, allowing a run to score. Heller then recorded the third out of the inning, making the run unearned. Breily Puerta earned his second win of the year by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Offensively for the Scrappers, Hendrix led the way with three hits, including two doubles, and two RBI’s. James Roberts also recorded three hits, all singles, and notched his 11th RBI of the year. Nellie Rodriguez, leading the team in batting average with a .311 mark, added two singles and scored a run.
For the Renegades, left fielder James Harris led the way with a solo home run and a double. The 2011 first-round pick showed good opposite field power on the home run. His double was a scorcher pulled down the left-field line, showcasing his ability to use the entire field. Third baseman Tyler Young went 2-4 with a double and a run scored, while second baseman Ariel Soriano and Darryl George both chipped in two hits. George improved on his team-leading .293 batting average, while Young’s double put him second place on the team with eight.
The win takes Mahoning Valley to 21-28 on the year, 10 games out of first place. Hudson Valley falls to 25-26 and sits two games behind first-place Aberdeen. The teams will meet in game two of the three-game set Saturday night at Eastwood Field. For the Scrappers, 2013 third-round pick Dace Kime will take the hill following his worst start of the season. On August 4 against Connecticut, Kime allowed two earned runs on three hits and four walks. For the Renegades, righty Aaron Griffin will look to keep his momentum following a strong outing in his last start. In that start, Griffin threw six innings of one-run ball. His ERA sits at an impressive 2.53 on the season. First pitch is slated for 7:05 pm.