Mahoning Valley put together a solid all-around performance in beating Hudson Valley 6-1.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Mired in the longest losing streak in club history, the Scrappers faced the daunting task of playing their first home game in a week against the Hudson Valley Renegades on Friday.
If they played poorly, the Scrappers, who had lost 10 straight and 18 of their last 20, could easily have alienated the home crowd, which had come out in record numbers to support the team over the past two seasons.
Rather than playing poorly, the team arrived with its A-game and performed well in all aspects in a 6-1 win over the Renegades in the New York-Penn League.
"Today things went our way," said Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon.
"It goes to show you sometimes the worm's going to turn for you. All you have to do is keep working."
Rather than going to the game on a muggy night, some fans may have been tempted to take in "Jurassic Park III," which opened this week.
The Renegades must feel like the unlucky souls who fell prey to the dinosaurs in the film.
Pitching: The Scrappers (7-24) didn't look like a losing team as they did everything well in sending Hudson Valley to a 17-13 record.
Doug Lantz entered the game with an 0-3 record and an 8.00 ERA. He held the Renegades to just five hits and no runs in six innings of work, easily his longest and best appearance of the year.
"I've just been struggling the past two times," Lantz said of his previous starts.
"Tonight I had a lot of support behind me with my defense. I kept the ball low and got ground balls all day."
Although Lantz allowed five hits, he never did permit the Renegades to send more than four batters to the plate in an inning.
"I threw a lot of two-seamers and let them beat it into the ground and let our defense work."
Defense: Lantz was the beneficiary of some sterling defense, especially on a long fly ball by Hudson Valley's Aaron Clark in the fourth.
Scrapper Jonathan Van Every reached over the center field wall and pulled the ball back onto the field of play. Clark was ultimately stranded on third base, and the shutout was preserved.
"I enjoyed that; I'll take that any day," said Lantz of the defensive play that had some fans mentioning Kenny Lofton's name.
"You're going to see him do that again," Turgeon said of Van Every. "Johnny goes gap-to-gap. He'll run through a wall; he almost did one day here."
Lantz saw a spark in the team after the lousy first half of the month.
"It's been a long struggle these last 10 games, and I think this game everything came together," Lantz said.
"I don't know where it's going to lead, but I think good things are about to come."
Relievers: Not only were the Scrappers getting good starting pitching and good defense, they received fine relief pitching and timely hitting.
Scott Sturkie threw two innings of relief and struck out four straight. Chris Cooper had a perfect ninth.
"These guys played well tonight, [but] we've played better and lost," Turgeon said.
"They played a good baseball game tonight, and it's a credit to their hard work."
Scoring: At the plate, Rickie Morton collected a single, a 370-foot homer, three runs scored, two walks and an RBI.
Van Every gave the team a 1-0 lead in the first with his sharp two-out single to center, and Mike Edwards drove in a run for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Morton's leadoff homer in the third made it 3-0 and gave him a team-high six dingers on the season.
Kenton Myers, who had singled in the second, drove in the final two Mahoning Valley runs in the seventh with a bases-loaded single.
The team played error-free ball and the mound staff issued no walks -- two encouraging signs.
"Tonight our defense did really good, our hitting came along and the pitching was there," Lantz said.
"That's huge," Turgeon said of not giving the Renegades extra base runners.
"If you do that, you're going to be in a lot of ball games. You might not win every one of them, but you certainly are going to be in a lot of them."
HUDSON VALLEYMAHONING VALLEY
Cortez 3b4010Malave lf4010
Depaula ss4010Edwards 3b3111
Gonzalez 2b4010Finnerty 3b2010
Reece 1b4000Quintana rf4000
Clark rf4010Morton 1b3321
O'Brien dh3010Van Every cf4111
Rico dh1000Peshke dh3000
Wolotka lf3000Myers c4122
Dion cf3000Uegawachi ss3000
Maduro c3121Made 2b4000
E--Depaula, Gonzalez, Wolotka. DP--Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Mahoning Valley 10, Hudson Valley 5. HR--Maduro, Morton. 3B--Clark. 2B--O'Brien. SB--Uegawachi.
Flinn L, 1-1564233
Lantz W, 1-3650003
WP--Flinn, Thompson. HBP--(Quintana) by Thompson. Umpires--Steve McMullin, home; Chris Conroy, bases. T--2:16. A--5,028.
HOW THEY SCORED
SCRAPPERS 1, RENEGADES 0
Scrappers: Dennis Malave grounded out. Mike Edwards singled to center, Miguel Quintana struck out. Rickie Morton walked, Edwards to second. Jonathan Van Every singled, Edwards scored, Morton to second. Chad Peshke flew out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on base.
SCRAPPERS 2, RENEGADES 0
Scrappers: Kenton Myers singled. Bryce Uegawachi reached on a throwing error, Myers to second. Maximo Made flew out. Malave singled to left field to load the bases. Edwards grounded out, Myers scored, Uegawachi to third, Malave to second. Quintana grounded out. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left on base.
SCRAPPERS 3, RENEGADES 0
Scrappers: Morton hit home run to left field wall. Van Every flew out, Peshke flew out. Myers struck out, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left on base.
SCRAPPERS 4, RENEGADES 0
Scrappers: Quintana grounded out. Morton singled, went to second on a fielding error. Van Every grounded out, Morton to third. Morton scored on a wild pitch. Peshke walked. Myers grounded out. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 1 left on base.
SCRAPPERS 6, RENEGADES 0
Scrappers: Quintana hit by a pitch. Quintana to second on a wild pitch. Morton walked. Van Every reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Peshke reached on a fielders error, Quintana out at the plate 6-2, Morton to third, Van Every to second. Myers singled home Morton and Van Every, Peshke to third, Myers to second on the throw. Uegawachi struck out. Made struck out. 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 error, 2 left on base.
SCRAPPERS 6, RENEGADES 1
Scrappers: Nate Dion struck out. Jorge Maduro homered to left. Fernando Cortez singled. Cortez to second on a passed ball. Luis DePaulo flew out. Edgar Gonzalez flew out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on base.