Reeling squad hits the road
After losing 8-0 to Williamsport, Mahoning Valley got a pep talk from the manager before embarking on a road trip.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers begin a three-game series tonight in Brooklyn, N.Y., with some extra motivation.
Reeling from a three-game losing streak that has plummeted them to the bottom of the Pinckney-Stedler Division, the Scrappers (1-5) received a verbal boost from manager Dave Turgeon.
"You've got to play the game loose, you've got to play the game hard and with enthusiasm and passion," Turgeon said Sunday following the Scrappers' 8-0 loss to Williamsport at Cafaro Field.
Time was right: The brief meeting came following a game in which the Scrappers' offense struggled again and the pitchers allowed runs in bunches.
"He said we have to play with more intensity, more heart, more emotion," said pitcher Doug Lantz, who started and took the loss Sunday. "I think you have to anyway. I don't think he has to tell us; we should know that ourselves."
Williamsport starter Juan Rodriguez and two relievers held the Scrappers to just three hits -- singles by Bryce Uegawachi in the third inning, Jonathan Van Every in the fourth and Miguel Quintana in the ninth.
The Scrappers' best opportunity against the right-hander came in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out but failed to capitalize.
"What our young hitters don't understand is, your job's not to get hits," Turgeon said. "Your job is to go up there, hit the ball hard somewhere and have a quality at-bat. Everything else will take care of itself."
Mound woes: Mahoning Valley pitching didn't do anything to help the team's cause, either.
Ranked last in the 14-team New York-Penn League with a 5.80 earned run average entering Sunday's game, Scrappers pitching was hit hardest in the eighth inning for the second straight day.
Scrappers reliever Chris Cooper allowed four runs on four hits in the eighth, putting the Crosscutters ahead 6-0. Errors by first baseman Curtis Gay and Cooper made the runs unearned.
"When a pitcher is struggling, the defense has to pick us up with a great play," said Turgeon, whose pitching staff allowed five doubles Sunday. "When the defense is struggling, the pitcher has to make a big pitch and get the next guy."
Lantz, a right-hander from Southlake, Texas, made his professional debut worthwhile. He allowed one run one four hits in four innings, with one walk.
"After the first inning, I got back to the basics. It just felt like a regular game again," Lantz said. "My control still wasn't as good as I would have liked. I got away with a couple of pitches."
Play of the game? A highlight for Mahoning Valley came in the sixth inning when Van Every made a play in center field that resulted in a standing ovation by Scrappers fans.
With two outs, Williamsport's Chris Shelton hit a long fly ball toward right center field that carried in the wind.
"It caught that wind tunnel," Van Every said of the ball. "I knew the right fielder couldn't get to it, so I just tried to haul my little butt over there and make a catch."
Van Every tracked the ball from the start, sprinting from center field to deep right center. He caught the ball on the warning track during his hard stride and crashed into the wall. On his run back to the dugout, he was rewarded by the fans.
"[The wall] caught the side of my face," Van Every said. "It would have been a heck of a time if I had run all that way and not caught the ball."
Turgeon said, "He ran a country mile for that ball, and he didn't give in to the wall, did he?"
Veleber cf4200Made 2b4000
Duffy dh5100Lillash dh4000
Bautista rf3312Van Every cf3010
Young 1b5031Quintana rf3010
DeLa Cruz 3b5222Gay 1b2000
Shelton c4021Morton 1b1000
Cabrera lf4011Finnerty 3b4000
Hudnall ss3021Myers c3000
Cuello 2b2000Santini lf3000
E--Gay, Cooper. DP--Williamsport 1, Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Williamsport 8, Mahoning Valley 6. 2B--DeLa Cruz 2, Young, Bautista, Hudnall. CS--Cabrera. SH--Cuello 2.
Rodriguez W, 1-0720025
Lantz L, 0-1441110
WP--Curtin. HBP--Quintana (by Rodriguez), Hudnall (by Curtin), Bautista (by Colvard). Umpires--Jason Klein, home; John Blackburn, bases. T--2:36. A--5,030.
HOW THEY SCORED
CROSSCUTTERS 1, SCRAPPERS 0
Crosscutters: Walter Young grounded out to first. Miguel DeLa Cruz doubled to right, Chris Shelton flied out to right. Yoelmis Cabrera singled to center, DeLa Cruz scored. Cabrera was caught stealing second. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left.
CROSSCUTTERS 2, SCRAPPERS 0
Crosscutters: Jose Bautista walked, Young singled to right, thrown out trying to reach second. DeLa Cruz grounded out to second, Bautista scored. Shelton flied out to center. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
CROSSCUTTERS 6, SCRAPPERS 0
Crosscutters: Troy Veleber reached on an error by the first baseman. Chris Duffy reached on an error by the pitcher. Bautista doubled to left, Veleber, Duffy scored. Young grounded out to first. DeLa Cruz doubled to right, Bautista scored. Shelton singled to center, Cabrera lined out to third. Josh Hudnall doubled to left, DeLa Cruz scored. Domingo Cuello grounded out to first. 4 runs, 4 hits, 2 errors, 2 left.
CROSSCUTTERS 8, SCRAPPERS 0
Crosscutters: Veleber walked, Duffy flied out to center, Bautista was hit by a pitch, Young singled to left, Veleber scored. Shelton singled to left, Bautista scored. Cabrera flied out to right. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.