Auburn routed the Scrappers 10-1 Monday to take a four-game lead.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Now the test begins.
Are the Mahoning Valley Scrappers resilient? That will be determined in a three-game series with the Jamestown Jammers that begins tonight at Cafaro Field.
The Scrappers were sent reeling by the Auburn Doubledays, who padded their lead in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division with a two-game sweep.
That included Mahoning Valley's 10-1 loss Monday to Auburn, which increased its first-place edge over the Scrappers to four games. It also left the home team's clubhouse quiet afterward.
"The season's winding down," Scrappers second baseman Shaun Larkin said. "We can't hang our heads."
With 22 games remaining, the Pinckney Division race has come down to Auburn and Mahoning Valley. The champion of each division -- McNamara and Stedler divisions included -- earns a playoff berth, with the league's next-best record qualifying as a wild card.
That would have been Mahoning Valley (31-23) prior to Monday's game. Now, the Williamsport Crosscutters (32-22) would qualify.
"Tomorrow's a new day," Scrappers manager Chris Bando said. "That's the great thing about this game. We can go out and score 10 tomorrow and look like we're world beaters again. We'll see how they respond."
The Scrappers didn't look that way over the past two days. Auburn pitching dampened Scrapper bats, allowing six hits in two games, including four Monday.
"Both starting pitchers both nights dominated our lineup," Bando said. "You're not going to win when you score one run in two games."
Chad Pleiness, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, got Sunday's win by allowing two hits in six innings. Monday, 6-foot-5 right-hander Vince Perkins allowed one run on three hits in 51/3 innings.
"[Perkins] throws mid-90s. He throws hard, he's got a hard slider and good changeup," Bando said.
"[Pleiness] threw three pitches over the plate anytime in the count," Bando added. "If you've got command of one pitch, you're pretty good; two pitches, you're darn good; and three pitches in this league, you're going to dominate."
Early lead erased
Mahoning Valley held a 1-0 lead Monday -- on Larkin's sacrifice fly in the second inning -- until the fifth. That's when Auburn scored three runs off of starter Blake Allen (3-4), who pitched well despite the loss.
In seven innings, Allen allowed the three runs on seven hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Auburn (35-19), which finished with 15 hits, broke the game open with a six-run eighth inning against Scrapper relievers Simon Young and Chip Southerland.
"We got hot for a while, but it's caught up to us now," Larkin said. "It's not happening at a good time."
Which makes the next series that much more important.
Hassey ss6122Francisco cf3000
Rivera 2b5011Torres ss4010
Waugh cf4012Osborn 3b4000
Johnston 1b5120Baxter 1b3110
Durazo dh3010Peavey dh4010
Owens rf5120Larkin 2b3001
Porfirio lf4220Gomez rf3000
Siriveaw 3b5222Myers c2000
Blackburn c5222Conroy lf2010
Jimenez pr/dh1100Haase ph/c1000
E--Baxter. LOB--Auburn 9, Mahoning Valley 7. 2B--Conroy, Torres, Hassey 2. SH--Conroy. SF--Larkin. SB--Baxter, Haase.
Perkins W, 3-45 1-331136
Allen L, 3-4773327
HBP--by Sandoval (Haase). WP--Perkins, Allen, Young, Southerland. PB--Myers. Umpires--Home, Josh Carlyle; bases, Justin Vogle. T--2:45. A--3,208.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, AUBURN 0
Scrappers: Andrew Baxter singled to left, stole second base. Bill Peavey grounded out to first, Baxter to third. Shaun Larkin flied out to left to sacrifice Baxter home. Hose Gomez grounded out to third. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
AUBURN 3, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Doubledays: A.J. Porfirio walked, advanced to second on a passed ball. Nom Siriveaw singled to right, Porfirio to third. Alex Blackburn doubled down the left-field line, Porfirio scored, Siriveaw to third. Brad Hassey grounded out to short, Siriveaw scored, Blackburn to third. Willie Rivera grounded out to third. Jason Waugh singled to left, Blackburn scored. Clint Johnston singled in the infield, Waugh to third. Ernie Durazo grounded out to second. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
AUBURN 9, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Doubledays: Johnston singled to right, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Durazo walked, was replaced by pinch runner Rich Jimenez. Justin Owens flied out to left. Porfirio singled in the infield to load the bases, Johnston to third, Jimenez to second. Siriveaw hit into a fielder's choice, Johnston scored on an error by the first baseman, Durazo scored, Porfirio to third. Blackburn singled up the middle, Porfirio scored, Siriveaw to second. Hassey doubled down the left-field line, Siriveaw scored, Blackburn to third. Rivera singled to left, Blackburn scored, Hassey to third. Waugh hit into a fielder's choice, Rivera out at second, Hassey scored. Waugh advanced to second on a wild pitch. Johnston flied out to left. 6 runs, 5 hits, 1 error, 1 left.
AUBURN 10, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Doubledays: Jimenez grounded out to short. Owens singled to right, Porfirio singled to right, Owens to third. Siriveaw singled to left, Owens scored, Porfirio to second. Blackburn flied out to second. Hassey flied out to center. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.