By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Baseball is such an easy sport to understand but such a hard sport to play.
After the Mahoning Valley Scrappers beat the Jamestown Jammers 8-1 at Cafaro Field Thursday to get their first home win of the season in the New York-Penn League, Manager Dave Turgeon broke the game down to its simplest elements.
"It's pitching and playing catch and maybe getting a timely hit here and there," Turgeon said.
The Scrappers (4-6) opened the year 1-6, but have won three in a row.
"We're making fewer mistakes," Turgeon said. "We're playing catch. The guys are pounding strikes and challenging hitters and making them put the ball into play."
Mahoning Valley got good production throughout the lineup and four pitchers combined to send the Jammers to a 2-8 mark.
"We have a lot of work to do," Turgeon said. "These guys have a lot more [talent] than they have been showing."
Bright spot: One of the bright spots in the early part of the season has been Rickey Morton. The first baseman had a single and scored in a two-run first, he doubled and scored in a three-run third and he added a ground-rule double in the seventh.
"He hit a two-out, three-run bomb [Wednesday] in Brooklyn," Turgeon said. "He's a feast or famine guy; he's got some thump. He's going to do some damage when he gets right, when he gets locked in."
Outfielder Travis Santini entered the game hitting .091. He contributed a single and a run scored in the second inning to give Mahoning Valley a 4-1 lead. His two-run homer in the third made it 7-1.
"He helps our team confidence-wise," Turgeon said of the homer. "Hitting is contagious. A guy comes up with a big hit and everybody starts relaxing."
Starter: The beneficiary of the offensive explosion was starting pitcher Nick Moran, who struck out five in four innings of work.
"I had a better fastball this time out than I had the last time," Moran said. "I had a good enough fastball tonight to where I could just go after the guys and knock the bat through their hands."
Moran threw inside well, challenging the Jamestown hitters with hard fastballs.
"He used a lot of bullets in four innings," Turgeon said of his rookie. "He's got good stuff. He attacked the hitters but went a little too deep in some counts."
After reaching the 45-to-50 pitch count the team has him on, Moran was lifted at the start of the fifth.
Relief: Brian Curtin, Mark Turnbow and Kevin Martin combined to hold Jamestown to just four singles and no runs over the final five innings.
Still it was Moran who set the tempo for the night.
"He throws with a purpose," Turgeon said. "You have to, that's the only way you're ever going to have success -- pitch with a purpose."
Moran said that when he sensed his fastball was working, he did not hesitate to use it, even over the inside part of the plate.
"That was our game plan, to go after these guys," Moran said. "Early on, I had a good fastball and they weren't getting around on it so we stayed in there."
Even Moran reduced the game to an easy level in discussing his pitching.
"You have to keep putting up zeros -- that's the most important thing," Moran said. "The more zeros, the more confidence the team gets."
Angel Bastardo also had two singles and scored twice.
Miller lf4130Made 2b5010
Lewis 2b5020Sorenson ss1001
Jeffcoat 3b3000Uegawachi ss1000
McCarthy rf3011Edwards dh2200
Parrott 1b4000Morton 1b4230
Salas dh3010Quintana rf4000
Pinental dh1000Finnerty 3b4222
Pena ss4010Bastardo c3220
Roat c3000Santini lf4222
Green c1000Thompson cf4000
Hambrick cf 4000
E--Jeffcoat, Made, Finnerty. LOB--Jamestown 8; Mahoning Valley 5. DP--Jamestown 1. 2B--Morton 2, Miller. HR--Santini. CS--Lewis.
Trevino, L, 0-1244210
Umpires--Home: Chris Conroy; bases: Steve McMullin. T--2:33. A--4,770.
HOW THEY SCOREDFIRST INNING
JAMESTOWN -- Greg Miller ground rule double down first base line. Richard Lewis flys out, Miller to third. Bryon Jeffcoat hit by a pitch. Billy McCarthey sacrifice fly to center, Miller scores. Tommy Parrott strikes out. One run, one hit, no errors, one LOB. Jammers 1, Scrappers 0.
MAHONING VALLEY -- Maximo Made singles. Zach Sorenson pops up. Mike Edwards walks, Made to second. Rickie Morton singles, Made out at the plate, 7-2, Edwards to third, Morton to second on the throw. Miguel Quintana pops up, error on the thirdbaseman allows Edwards and Morton to score. Francis Finnerty flies out. Two nruns, two hits, one error, one LOB. Scrappers 2, Jammers 1.
MAHONING VALLEY -- Angel Bastardo singles. Travis Santini singles Bastardo to third. Eric Thompson safe on a fielders choice, Bastardo scores, Santini to third, Thompson to second. Made pops up. Sorenson sacrifice fly, Santini scores, Thompson to third. Edwards flies out. Two runs, two hits, no errors, one LOB. Scrappers 4, Jammers 1.
MAHONING VALLEY -- Brant Abrams in to pitch for Chris Trevino. Morton doubles. Quintana grounds out, Morton to third. Finnerty grounds out. Morton scores on a wild pitch. Bastardo singles. Santini homers, driving in Bastardo. Thompson strikes out. Three runs, three hits, no errors, no LOB. Scrappers 7, Jammers 1.
MAHONING VALLEY -- Edwards walks. Morton hits ground rule double, Edwards to third. Quintana strikes out. Finnerty RBI single to right scores Edwards, Morton to third. Bastardo grounds into a double play. One run, two hits, no errors, one LOB. Scrappers 8, Jammers 1.