Scrappers score 11 in rout of Ironbirds
NILES - The Scrapper offense must be fond of multiples of two,because a pair of huge innings in the second and fourth paved the way what was a testy 11-1 Scrapper rout of the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Thursday night.
Certainly the Scrappers are no strangers to early scoring, as they have scored 24 runs total in the first and second inning this season, with those two innings accounting for over a third of their total run production alone. The Scrappers added another big chunk to that total in the second inning, when they scored five en route to batting around.
After the first inning, it wouldn’t have looked like Ironbird starter Cameron Coffey would have any trouble breezing through at least a couple innings. He struck out a pair in the first, throwing only eleven pitches, nine of which were strikes.
In the second inning, though, the batters weren’t going to let him sneak any strikes past them. They opened the inning with three straight hits, two singles from Charlie Valerio and Joe Sever, and an RBI double by Aaron Siliga to put an early run on the board. Erik Gonzalez and Robel Garcia followed with back-to-back RBI base hits to push across two more. Jairo Kelly then really made Coffey pay with a line shot into the corner that ended up a triple and gave the Scappers two more runs.
After batting around and chasing starter Coffey after just two innings of work, the Scrappers emerged 5-0 leaders. That would have been enough, but they continued to pile on in the fourth against reliever Dustin Ward.
Garcia, Kelly, and Naquin walked, singled and walked to start the inning and load the bases for Joe Wendle, who singled on a hard grounder to force home another run. Joe Sever brought the run from third home with an RBI single before Siliga walked to load the bases again. Then, Juan Romero delivered the backbreaker, tripling down the line to clear the bases and give the Scrappers a 10-1 advantage. They added one more run when Garcia (who led off the inning), singled to drive in Romero.
“You never know what’s going to happen in a game,” commented manager Ted Kubiak. “The guy last night threw strikes but we couldn’t hit him. Tonight, they through the ball over the plate and we hit the ball. You can’t predict what’s going to happen sometimes.”
Certainly Scrapper starter Luis Dejesus appreciated the support from his offense, as he lacked his best stuff on the mound. He was in trouble most of the night, putting a runner in scoring position in each of his five innings of work, but he was effective enough to work around the five hits he allowed, giving up only one run in the second on an RBI double. He benefited from a pair of inning-ending double plays in the first and fifth, and exited after five allowing only the one earned run despite only striking out one and walking three.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I had to work with what I had,” said Dejesus. “Today I had trouble finding the strike zone. It was really the first time all year I had trouble finding the strike zone. I was kind of nervous because this was the first time my family has seen me pitch in two years, so I tried to do too much. The hitters calmed down with the run support they gave me, though.”
“He struggled tonight,“ said Kubiak. “He was trying too hard, he wasn’t himself. The ball wasn’t coming out of his hand right. He still got through it. I don’t know how, but he got through it.”
Aberdeen did give the fans a little something to make them sweat, as they got to reliever Luis Encarnacion in the sixth inning. Two straight two-out RBI singles followed a bases-loaded passed ball to cut the advantage to 11-4. That was all the scoring that either team would get, though.
Frustration clearly boiled over for Aberdeen in the seventh inning, when first-baseman Cameron Edman was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Ben Levin. Both Edman and manager Gary Allenson were ejected after lengthy objections. Hitting coach Brad Komminsk joined them in the bottom of the seventh when he argued a timeout that was granted to batter Aaron Siliga. Tempers boiled over again in the bottom of the eight when first baseman Valerio appeared to react to something second baseman Jerome Pena said to him, bringing both benches out onto the field. None were ejected in the fracas.
Relievers Louis Head and James Stokes combined to finish out the game, with Head working the seventh and eighth, and Stokes finishing up in the ninth. Both were effective, with neither allowing a hit and Head striking out two.
Despite not having his best pitches, Dejesus was credited with his second win of the season. Aberdeen starter Cameron Coffey took the loss and moved to 0-3 on the season. The teams will meet again Friday night in the rubber match in what could be a fiery affair after last night’s fireworks.