Scrappers drop fifth in a row
NILES - The Scrappers are mimicking their big-league affiliate in the wrong way. Though they haven’t yet matched that 11 game slide that the Indians had, they are currently in the middle of their own mini-slump, as the Williamsport Crosscutters dealt them their fifth straight loss, and sixth in their last seven Wednesday by a final score of 6-0.
Like their major-league counterparts, the Scrapper offense has had issues collecting the big hits they desperately need. Over the stretch, they have gone just 5-33 with runners in scoring position, an average of .152. The lack of RBI hits, combined with some less than stellar pitching. has led to the Scrappers being outscored 30-10 over the stretch.
The Scrappers did have the right man on the mound to help break the streak. Luis Dejesus was that guy, looking to continue his dominance of New York-Penn League batsman. He has been without a doubt the best starter for Mahoning Valley, entering play 4-0 on the season with an incredible 1.41 ERA. For his efforts, he was announced as an NYPL All-Star when the rosters were unveiled Wednesday, earning starting duties for the American League. Joining him on the team are Joey Wendle, Joe Sever, Jacob Lee, and Charlie Valerio.
Unfortunately for Dejesus and the Scrappers, he turned in probably his worst effort of the year. After cruising through the first, Dejesus ran into trouble in the second. He retired the first two batters, but allowed a two-out walk that led to a Williamsport rally. Chace Numata followed with a single, and after a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Gustavo Gonzalez poked a single up the middle that brought both runners home and made it 2-0.
Dejesus recovered in the third, but allowed runs in each of the next two innings. He allowed a leadoff triple in the fourth to Yan Olmo, who scored after a sacrifice fly. Then in the fifth he allowed a one-out bunt single followed by a two-out RBI single to make it 4-0. Dejesus finished the day after five, allowing the four runs on six hits with three strikeouts.
“I really had to battle today,” said Dejesus. “I let the umpire get to me today, that’s usually not me. I felt like he got into my head and I let that affect me and it showed on the field today. I don’t usually get aggravated, but when you get squeezed a little bit it gets you aggravated.”
Even though the start was probably the worst for Dejesus, it wasn’t terrible. A starting pitcher can certainly do worse than four runs in five innings. Unfortunately, the offense just couldn’t muster much of anything to support him. They had only three hits in the first five innings off of starter Ulises Jaoquin. Their only real scoring threats against him came with two outs in the fourth and fifth. Logan Vick led of the fourth with a walk, and advanced to second with two outs after a groundout. In the fifth, Erik Gonzalez singled with two outs and advanced to second on a throwing error. Neither time could they cash in though.
The missed opportunities loomed large as Williamsport continued to add runs against the bullpen. Robbie Aviles entered to pitch the sixth, and surrendered a two-out solo homerun to Numata, his first of the year. Then in the seventh, Tyler Greene led off with a double, and scored when Cameron Perkins ripped a double of his own with two-outs to make it 6-0.
The Scrapper offense did finally have a chance to make some noise, as they put their first two batters on in the seventh via an Aaron Siliga single and Aaron Campbell walk. Again, though, it was the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position that came back to bite them, as Erik Gonzalez, Robel Garcia, and Jairo Kelly all fell victim to Steven Inch strikeouts to retire the side.
Logan Vick did his best to keep hope alive, singling to lead of the eighth. Vick was the lone bright spot for the Scrappers, collecting three of the Scrappers four hits. He finished 3-3 with a walk.
“We’ve been struggling offensively a little bit in the last six games,” said Vick. “But we’re just trying to grind out at-bats, and get some good pitches to hit. I’m finally getting my timing back after having around two months off from seeing live pitching. I’m seeing the ball really well, so I’mexcited about that.”
Nobody behind Vick could make anything happen, though. They failed to move him from first in the eighth, and went quietly in the ninth to end the game.
Dejesus took the loss in the contest, his first of theyear. Joaquin picked up his first win of the year. The Scrappers now head back out on the road, where they will look to pick up some momentum before breaking for the NYPL All-Star game on Monday.