With three games left, Manager Dave Turgeon and his staff are taking one last look.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Following Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Oneonta Tigers, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers are one three-game series from ending the 2001 season.
With recent movement of players to fill rosters within the Cleveland Indians organization, Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon is putting an emphasis on the final days for his team.
"These guys have to look at this as an opportunity to show what they can do, rather than, 'Ah, I've got to start; I've been relieving all year,' " said Turgeon after the loss at Cafaro Field.
"That [movement] creates opportunities for guys to get [at]-bats and innings."
On the mound: Scott Sturkie was one of those players who was given a chance Sunday. Normally a relief pitcher, the first-year right-hander from West Columbia, S.C., was given the start against the Tigers.
"He gave us as much length as he could," Turgeon said. "We couldn't go past 70 pitches with him. He's not used to it; he's not stretched out anywhere past that."
Sturkie (2-1) allowed three runs on nine hits in 32/3 innings and took the loss. He was relieved by Brian Curtin and Jason MacIntosh.
"Our pitchers did an outstanding job today, but we didn't help them defensively," said Turgeon, referring to errors committed by Maximo Made and Rickie Morton in the seventh inning that made two Oneonta runs unearned.
"We had a couple of errors, and that got our pitch-counts up," Turgeon said. "All of a sudden, we had to pitch out of jams."
Opportunity: Despite being slowed throughout the game, the Scrappers offense had its chances, even bringing the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning. But Miguel Quintana struck out with two runners on base.
"We were knocking on the door here and there," Turgeon said. "We very easily could have won that game."
The highlight came from Morton, whose solo home run in the first inning was his 12th this season, one shy of New York-Penn League leader Frank Corr of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
"When I first hit it, I wasn't quite sure if it was going to go or not," said Morton, who added a single in the eighth inning. "Then, I saw the outfielder kept going. It was a nice little surprise."
Turgeon said, "The ball carries off his bat. He's one of those guys that's got, what we call, 'off the bat.' He's had a good year, offensively and defensively."
After Morton's home run, however, the Scrappers (25-47) managed one other run.
In the third inning, Francis Finnerty walked, advanced to second on Bryce Uegawachi's single and scored on Maximo Made's bunt that was thrown away by Oneonta third baseman Richard Gomersall for an error.
Taking the lead: Oneonta (36-35) scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to make a winner out of starting pitcher Ross Koenig (4-2).
Kelly ss5020Made 2b3010
Gonzalez 1b5231Peshke 3b3000
Rabelo c5121Morton 1b3121
Yount rf4011Guglielmelli c3000
Kolodzey lf4110Quintana cf4000
Knoedler cf4020Kirby lf4010
Trezza dh5002Santini rf4000
Heath 2b4010Finnerty dh3100
Gomersall 3b4110Uegawachi ss2010
E--Gomersall, Morton, Made. DP--Oneonta 2, Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Oneonta 11, Mahoning Valley 6. HR--Morton. 3B--Gonzalez. SB--Yount. SH--Peshke, Kolodzey.
Koenig W, 4-2542135
Birtwell S, 7100002
Sturkie L, 2-13 2-393301
WP--Sturkie. Umpires--Jason Day, home; Steve Bretz, bases. T--2:42. A--4,080.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, ONEONTA 0
Scrappers: Maximo Made struck out. Chad Peshke grounded out to third. Rickie Morton homered over the left-field wall, Brad Guglielmelli flied out to center. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 1, ONEONTA 1
Tigers: Chris Kolodzey singled in the infield, Jason Knoedler singled to left, Kolodzey to third. Alex Trezza hit into a fielder's choice, Kolodzey scored, Knoedler out at second. Demetrius Heath singled to right, Trezza to second. Richard Gomersall struck out. Don Kelly flied out to second. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
ONEONTA 2, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Tigers: Juan Gonzalez tripled into the right-field corner, Mike Rabelo grounded out to short, Gonzalez scored. Andy Yount singled to left, Kolodzey flied out to first. Knoedler singled to left. Young to third, Knoedler to second on a wild pitch. Trezza grounded out to second. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
Scrappers: Francis Finnerty walked, Bryce Uegawachi singled to right, Finnerty to second. Made bunts for an infield single, Finnerty scored, error on the third baseman, Uegawachi to second. Peshke bunts to sacrifice Uegawachi to third, Made to second. Morton intentionally walked to load the bases. Guglielmelli grounds into an unassisted 5-3 double play, Made out at third. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left.
ONEONTA 3, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Tigers: Heath flied out to center. Gomersall singled to right, Kelly grounded into a fielder's choice, Gomersall to second. Brian Curtin pitching. Gonzalez singled to right, Gomersall scored. Rabelo struck out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
ONEONTA 5, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Tigers: Jason MacIntosh pitching. Gonzalez singled to left, Rabelo reached on an error by the first baseman, Gonzalez to third. Yount reached on a fielder's choice, error on the second baseman, Gonzalez scored, Rabelo to second. Kolodzey bunted to sacrifice Rabelo to third, Yount to second. Knoedler was intentionally walked to load the bases. Trezza grounded out to second, Rabelo scored. Heath grounded out to third. 2 runs, 1 hit, 2 errors, 2 left.