After the Scrappers took the first game of the three game series against the State College Spikes, manager Ted Kubiak preached playing with consistency. Consistency, he said, is the key to baseball. The team has clearly taken that advice to heart, winning the third game of the series 3-1 to sweep the Spikes and end their six game home stand.
If anybody had been consistent up to that point, it was Scrapper starter Luis Dejesus. In Dejesus’ two prior starts, he looked fantastic, going 11 innings total with only one earned run and ten strikeouts. Despite his quality efforts, he took a no decision in both outings.
On Saturday, Dejesus continued his solid pitching. He made it through six innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits while striking out three. His only earned run came in the second inning when a catcher Charlie Valerio was charged with a passed ball that allowed a runner to score from third. That was it though, as from the second inning on he didn’t allow a runner to make it past second base.
Dejesus didn’t have his best stuff, but he was effective at getting batters to make outs on their own.
“When I know I don’t have my good stuff, I just worry about throwing strikes,” said Dejesus, who picked up his first victory of the year. “I felt ok, but I knew it wasn’t all there, and I just told myself that I have to throw strikes today and hit my spots.”
“He’s been really consistent,” commented Kubiak. “He did nothing but throw strikes, and good breaking balls when he was behind. Throwing strikes one after another really throws off young hitters.”
Also helping Dejesus was some early two-out damage from the offense. Spike starter Jake Burnette retired his first two batters of the game, but gave up a two out triple to Joe Wendle. Charlie Valerio promptly made him pay with a wall-scraper that ended up in the Scrapper dugout.
That was plenty for Dejesus, who exited after the sixth with the slim one run lead intact. He turned the game over to a bullpen he should have had a lot of confidence in. In their last three games, the bullpen had only allowed one run combined.
Tonight, Jack Wagoner was called on to hold the lead. In his previous two outings, Wagoner had pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing one earned run. He was near perfect in his effort this time,pitching the seventh and eighth innings without allowing a hit and striking out three to earn himself a hold.
“I just felt good. I had a start that I wasn’t too pleased with in my first couple outings,” said Wagoner. “It’s good to get back on track tonight.”
The Scrapper offense was able to tally on an insurance run in the seventh for Wagoner when Jairo Kelly ripped an RBI single to right field that scored Hunter Jones. Wagoner then stepped aside for Enosil Tejada, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the win. It gave the Scrappers their first sweep of the season after getting swept themselves last weekend in State College.
“There’s a lot of good arms, a lot of good guys out there,” said Wagoner of the bullpen. “They’re doing a hell of a job. It’s nice to go out and get a sweep against them after we didn’t play too well over there.”
For Kubiak, it again went back to what he had preached: consistency
“That’s all it was. We player extremely good, tight, baseball,” said Kubiak. “Siliga made a couple good plays in the outfield, we had timely hitting. I hit them ground balls earlier for a half an hour and made them run all over. A lot of the plays tonight were things we’ve been working on. ”
Taking the loss for State College was the starter Burnette. The Scrappers will now hit the road as they look to extend their three game winning streak in Williamsportagainst the Crosscutters on Sunday.