If last night was a heartbreaker, tonight was a backbreaker. It was just a night ago that the Scrappers fell behind to Batavia, regained the lead, and lost it late. Tonight wasn’t much different, as they battled back from a 3-0 hole to tie the game before eventually falling, 4-3.
That hole, or at least 2/3 of it, came right away, surprisingly enough, against the Scrappers best starter Luis Dejesus. Dejesus, making his first start sincestarting for the American League in the New-York Penn League All-Star Game,found himself in an early 2-0 after surrendering an homerun to Patrick Wisdom following a two-out single.
“I made one mistake all night,” said Dejesus. “It was a fastball low and in, and he got a good swing and took it out. Credit him.”
That was just what it was: a mistake. After the miscue, Dejesus was back to his old form. He allowed a few scattered hits in his next few innings of work, but it was nothing of consequence. The only time he got into trouble again was the fifth, when he allowed a one-out double to David Popkins. That was the last hit he surrendered, as he made it through 5 2/3 before being pulled in favor of Robbie Aviles.
“I feel pretty good,” Dejesus said. “I don’t feel tired, my arm still feels the same as when I got here. Since I’ve been here I’ve been using my whole body more, so that’s less stress on my arm. I’ve thrown a lot more fastballs and changeups, especially tonight. They don’t stress your arm like curveballs and sliders.”
Despite pitching effectively after the first, Dejesus got zero help from his offense. They faced a pretty good starter themselves, that being Muckdog Tim Cooney. Cooney entered 2-1 with a solid 2.72 ERA. He showed just how good he could be Saturday, essentially silencing the Scrapper offense. He cruised through six innings, giving up only four hits without allowing a runner to advance past first. He lowered his ERA to 2.36 with the effort.
In the seventh, with Aviles still pitching, Batavia picked up what would be a huge extra run when Matthew Young ripped an RBI double to right field. That set the Scrappers back 3-0, and with the success of the offense in late innings, that seemed to be a nearly insurmountable advantage.
In their end of the seventh, though, the offense proved that it could fight back. Joey Wendle started the action with a leadoff single, and advanced to second when the right fielder bobbled the ball. Then after a pair of strikeouts, backstop Jeremy Lucas delivered the assist, singling to allow Wendle to advance home.
They continued the two-out pressure in the eight, as Aaron Siliga Andrew Campbell both singled. Then Wendle came through, poking a double the other way to allow both runs to score and tie the game.
“We’re tough, and we’re battling,” said Wendle, who finished 2-4 with a double and 2 RBIs. “Right now we’re not putting a whole lot of runs on the board, and when you’re not able to do that you’ve just got to battle and work your way through it.”
Any jubilation they must have felt in the dugout for battling back was quickly extinguished in the ninth. Luis Encarnacion stayed on to pitch after relieving Aviles in the eighth. His first batter of the inning, designated hitter Jacob Wilson, wasted no time erasing every shred of work the offense had done. He turned an Encarnacion delivery into a no-doubter, launching a solo shot well over the fence in left field to give his team a 4-3 lead.
“Its obviously frustrating to come back and then lose the game,” said Wendle. “But that’s baseball. We’ve just gotta come back out tomorrow. We’ve got another game, so we just have to have a short memory and come back and battle again.”
The Scrappers weren’t able to muster anything in the ninth, as the Batavia lead held true. It was the third straight loss for the Scrappers, and second in gut-wrenching fashion. Encarnacion took the loss for the Scrappers, his first of the year, while Muckdog Brandon Creath took thewin. The Scrappers will now look to finish the home stand strong, as they welcome in Jamestown for a pair.