Ryan Howard had five of Batavia's 16 hits.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The third time at-bat proved to be charming for the Batavia Muckdogs' batting lineup Sunday at Cafaro Field.
The Muckdogs, who are battling Jamestown, Oneonta and Auburn for second place in the Pinckney-Stedler Division and a playoff berth, connected for five consecutive hits off Scrappers starter Doug Lantz in the fifth inning.
The Muckdogs (25-20) sandwiched three singles around two doubles to shatter a scoreless tie with four runs en route to a 10-4 triumph over the last-place Scrappers (14-32).
Lantz said he didn't do anything different from the first four innings when he dodged several bullets to keep the game scoreless.
"I was aggressive, I thought I was still attacking the hitters," Lantz (1-5) said. "I just ran into a wall basically in that fifth inning."
Rally: Rod Perry started the Muckdogs' rally with a lead-off double into the left-field corner on a 2-2 pitch. Perry held at third base after Danny Gonzalez singled on the next pitch.
On the next toss from Lantz, Sean Walsh brought in Perry with a single.
Ryan Howard, who led the Muckdogs with a 5-for-5 day at the plate, bashed the baseball off first baseman Billy Munoz's glove to score Gonzalez.
Rich Pohle doubled to left-center field on Lantz's final pitch for the 4-0 lead.
"In the first four [innings], I felt really good," Lantz said. "I didn't feel any different in the fifth, but I kind of left some pitches up and over the plate more than I should have. They capitalized on my mistakes."
Intimidating: As for facing Howard, who stands 6-foot-4-inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, Lantz said, "If you let him be intimidating, he will be. He's a tall guy."
Lantz said his method is to focus on his battery-mate.
"I really didn't concentrate at looking at [Howard]," the 21-year-old Texan said. "I just looked at the catcher.
"He had a single and a walk off me, then he hit a groundball that just happened to get through the hole. The third time I felt I did my job, but it was a groundball that found its way through."
Howard said he couldn't remember ever having a better day at the plate.
"That's the first time I've ever done it," he said of his five hits. "It feels pretty good."
Howard said familiarity was the key to the offensive outburst.
"We'd seen him a couple times and I guess everybody pretty much had him figured out," Howard said.
Piling it on: The Muckdogs scored twice in the sixth inning off reliever Mark Turnbow for a 6-0 lead.
In all, Batavia connected for 16 hits and stranded 14 baserunners.
Vince Vukovich's lead-off double in the seventh inning off reliever Brian Curtin led to Batavia's seventh run.
The Scrappers scored their first two runs in the seventh inning when Brian Kirby singled, Bryce Uegawachi walked and Dennis Malave tripled to send Muckdogs starter Jason Bernard (2-4) to the bench.
Howard greeted reliever Ron Colvard with a solo home run over the center-field wall to open the eighth inning.
"I thought that I hit it pretty solid," Howard said of his long bomb. "I saw the center fielder [Malave] going back and I wasn't sure, so I [ran] it out."
Jesus Colmenter's two-out single in the ninth inning scored Uegawachi and Malave for the Scrappers' other runs.
Offense struggles: Lantz said the Scrappers' staff doesn't feel extra heat because the offense has been struggling.
"We go out there and we don't think about that stuff," Lantz said. "We try to pitch our game, and whatever is going to happen is going to happen."
Perry cf5221Malave cf3121
Gonzalez ss6221Colmenter 2b4022
Walsh 3b4212Munoz dh5000
Howard 1b5253Morton dh4010
Pohle dh4012Quintana rf4000
Bennett 2b3000Kirby lf4120
Johnston 4010Guglielmelli c4000
Dancy lf5120Uegawachi ss3210
E--Finnerty, Uegawachi. LOB--Batavia 14 Mahoning Valley 8. HR--Howard.. 3B--Morton. 2B--Perry 2, Pohle, Vukovich., Morton. SB--Walsh. CS--Kirby. SF--Perry, Walsh, Vukovich.
Bernard W (2-4)6.272222
Lantz L (1-5) 484416
HBP--by Lantz (Vukovich). Umpires--Home JSteve Bretz; Bases--Jason Day. T--2:58. A--4,573.
HOW THEY SCORED
BATAVIA 4, MAHONING VALLEY 0
Muckdogs: Rod Perry doubled into the left-field corner. Danny Gonzalez singled with Perry stopping at third base. Sean Walsh singled, scoring Perry and sending Gonzalez to second base. Ryan Howard singled off first baseman Billy Munoz's glove, scoring Gonzalez and sending Howard to second. Rich Pohle doubled to left-center field, scoring Walsh and Howard. Mark Turnbow relieved Scrappers starter Doug Lantz and walked Kris Bennett. Ryan Johnston sacrificed with a bunt, sending Pohle to third and Bennett to second. Vince Vukovich struck out. Cliff Dancy struck out. 4 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, 3 left.
BATAVIA 6, MAHONING VALLEY 0
Muckdogs: Perry popped out to first base. Gonzalez singled to right. Walsh was hit by a pitch, sending Gonzalez to second base. Howard singled to right-center field and took second on a late throw to the plate as Gonzalez scored and Walsh took third base. Pohle was intentionally walked to load the bases. Reliever Brian Curtin struck out Bennett. Walsh scored on a wild pitch, with Howard moving to third and Pohle to second. Johnston grounded out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
BATAVIA 7, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Muckdogs: Vukovich doubled off the right-field wall. Dancy singled to centerfield, Vukovich stopped at second base. Perry hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Vukovich. Gonzalez struck out. Walsh hit a fielder's choice to erase Dancy. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
Scrappers: Brian Kirby singled to right field. Bradley Guglielmelli grounded out to shortstop, sending Kirby to second. Kirby took third on a wild pitch by Muckdogs starter Jason Bernard. Kirby scored when Francis Finnerty grounded out to first base. Bryce Uegawachi walked and scored on Dennis Malave's triple to left-center field. Josh Scott relieved Bernard and walked Jesus Colmenter. Munoz struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
BATAVIA 8, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Muckdogs: Howard homered off reliever Ron Colvard. Pohle grounded out to first. Bennett reached first on third baseman Finnerty's throwing error. Johnston struck out. Bennett took second on a passed ball by catcher Gugleilmelli. Vukovich grounded out to first. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 1 left.
BATAVIA 10, MAHONING VALLEY 4
Muckdogs: Dancy singled and took third base on Perry's double to left field. Gonzalez grounded out, scoring Dancy and sending Perry to third. Walsh hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Perry. Howard singled and took second on a wild pitch by Colvard. Pohle walked. Bennett grounded into a fielder's choice. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
Scrappers: Reliever Mike Nall took over. Guglielmelli grounded out. Finnerty grounded out. Uegawachi singled to right field. Malave walked, sending Uegawachi to second. Uegawachi and Malave advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Colmenter's single. Munoz grounded out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors 1 left.