Staten Island, which beat the Scrappers in last year's title series, won again Wednesday at Cafaro Field.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The cast of characters that took center stage in the 2000 New York-Penn League championship series has accepted roles elsewhere.
Now, new players and coaches have filled the rosters of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and Staten Island Yankees.
A season after being crowned champion, the Yankees have proved -- albeit early -- that change doesn't matter.
In the first game between the teams since Staten Island's 2 games to 1 victory in the '00 title series, the Yankees picked up where they left off, defeating the Scrappers 6-1 Wednesday at Cafaro Field.
Staying focused: "We're still working," said Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon, whose team (6-16) remained last in the Pinckney-Stedler Division. "You can't be negative, or you have no chance.
"This is all about player development," he said. "This isn't about winning championships right now. If these guys get better, then we've done our job."
Staten Island (13-7), which holds first place in the McNamara Division, hit Scrappers starting pitcher Luke Field hard, scoring five runs on nine hits in the first two innings against the right-hander.
Although Field had an 0-2 record in four starts coming into the game, his earned-run average was 2.74, and seemingly it was his time for victory.
Field surrendered hits to the first four batters, two of which scored on an error by shortstop Zach Sorensen. Field left after two innings with the Scrappers trailing 5-0; four of the runs were earned.
"Luke had a bad outing, but he didn't do as bad as the numbers indicate," Turgeon said, referring to the first-inning error. "Those things happen."
Out of the bullpen: If Mahoning Valley could find anything positive from this game, it was the performances of relievers Todd Culp, who allowed just one hit through four innings, Ron Colvard and Chris Cooper.
"[Staten Island] is a pretty good hitting team," Culp said. "You just have to go right after guys. I felt good, and I got some help from my defense."
Turgeon said, "The relievers came in and shut the doors. They absolutely kept us in the game."
Meanwhile, the Scrappers' offense struggled against Staten Island starter Rik Currier, who allowed one run on four hits in five innings for the win.
"He had a different windup and release. It took me a while to see the ball," said first baseman Rickie Morton, who went 0-for-3 with a walk. "We weren't fortunate enough to take advantage of some of his mistakes.
"But sometimes, you've got to tip your hat."
Lone run: Mahoning Valley, which finished with seven hits while striking out 11 times, scored its only run in the third inning on Miguel Quintana's RBI double that plated Sorensen.
"We hit the ball hard at people, and those could have been hits," Turgeon said. "All of a sudden, their pitcher looks like he had a great outing."
Turgeon revealed why Currier was effective against his batters.
"Any time you've got young hitters and a guy who throws breaking balls for strikes, you're going to have problems because they don't see that stuff in home-run derby college ball," said Turgeon, who added that Currier mixed his pitches well.
STATEN ISLANDMAHONING VALLEY
Thompson cf4131Sorensen ss5110
Cannizaro 2b5130Peshke 3b3010
Griffin lf5122Quintana rf4011
Duncan dh5020Morton 1b3000
Rifkin 1b5000Van Every cf3010
Camacho 3b4001Bastardo c4010
Christensen rf5110Finnerty dh4010
Mendez ss4110Malave lf2000
Fernandez c4110Thompson lf2000
E--Peshke 2, Sorensen. DP--Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Mahoning Valley 10, Staten Island 10. 2B--Thompson, Peshke, Mendez, Quintana, Christensen. SB--Sorensen. CS--Thompson.
Currier W, 1-0541126
Field L, 0-3295401
HBP--by Field (Camacho). WP--Culp, Colvard. Umpires--John Blackburn, home; Jayson Cline, bases. T--2:53. A--5,560.
HOW THEY SCORED
YANKEES 2, SCRAPPERS 0
Yankees: Kevin Thompson doubled to left, thrown out at third trying to steal. Andy Cannizaro singled to left, John-Ford Griffin singled to right, Cannizaro to second. Shelley Duncan singled to left to load the bases. Aaron Rifkin flied out to second. Juan Camacho reached on a fielder's choice, Cannizaro and Griffin scored on an error by second baseman Zach Sorensen. Jeff Christensen lined out to center. 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 2 left.
YANKEES 5, SCRAPPERS 0
Yankees: Deivi Mendez doubled to right, Alejandro Fernandez singled up the middle, Mendez to third. Thompson singled to right, Mendez scored, Fernandez to second. Cannizaro singled to left, Fernandez to third, Thompson to second. Griffin singled to right, Fernandez, Thompson scored, Cannizaro to second. Duncan struck out. Rifkin grounded out to first, Cannizaro to third, Griffin to second. Camacho hit by pitch to load the bases. Christensen grounded out to first. 3 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, 3 left.
YANKEES 5, SCRAPPERS 1
Scrappers: Maximo Made flied out to center. Zach Sorensen singled to left, Chad Peshke struck out, Sorensen stole second. Miguel Quintana doubled to right, Sorensen scored. Rickie Morton struck out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
YANKEES 6, SCRAPPERS 1
Yankees: Christensen doubled to right, advanced to third on a wild pitch. Mendez reached on an error by third baseman Chad Peshke, Christensen scored. Fernandez struck out. Thompson singled to left, Mendez to second. Cannizaro flied out to third. Griffin flied out to left. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left.