Facing a 3-1 deficit heading into the late innings, it may have seemed like déjà vu for the Scrappers, who found themselves in the midst of a stretch where nothing seemed to be going to plan. But a late five run rally was the perfect remedy for their struggles, as they went on to defeat the Batavia Muckdogs 7-3 Friday night and end their six game losing streak.
Before the rally, the Scrappers found themselves in an early hole. Luis Morel took the hill for Mahoning Valley, and allowed the first run of the game in the second inning. The Muckdogs collected back-to-back singles to start the frame before Morel issued a pair of walks to force home the first run.
The Scrappers got that run back in the fourth, when Catcher Jeremy Lucas smacked his second homerun of the season to tie the game at one a piece.
In the fifth, Batavia regained the lead, collecting a pair of runs off of Morel, one earned and one unearned. They put a run in scoring position with one out after Steven Ramos singled and stole second. Then Danny Stienstra ripped an RBI single to break the tie. Another base hit put runners on the corners, and a passed ball allowed the runner from third to score to make it 3-1.
Morel exited with two outs in the fifth, and turned it over to a bullpen that pitched a scoreless final four innings. James Stokes finished out the fifth, and pitched two more innings without allowing a hit. Then Rafael Homblert entered and pitched two innings of shutout baseball in the eighth and ninth.
Those solid efforts gave the Scrapper offense plenty of chances to rally and pick up what was a very good pitching effort all-around. In the seventh they did just that, erupting for five runs to give them a lead, and ultimately a win. Jeremy Lucas and Hunter Jones both walked to start the inning. Andrew Campbell made the walks hurt, as he poked an RBI single to right field to score a run. Then Robel Garcia dropped down a sacrifice bunt that allowed another run to score after a costly error by the pitcher. With runners on second and third, Jairo Kelly spearheaded the attack, singling to drive home both runs and give the Scrappers their first lead. They added one more on a Logan Vick sacrifice to emerge 6-3 leaders.
The offense added another run in the ninth on a Joey Wendle RBI base hit, but the solid bullpen effort assured that the insurance run wouldn’t be needed. Both relievers were rewarded for the work, as Stokes picked up the win and Homblert the save. Batavia reliever Jose Pasan was saddled with both the loss and a blown save.
With the win, the Scrappers earn a split with Batavia and move to 24-27. They now continue their road trip in Auburn, where they will battle the Doubledays in their final series before the All-Star break.