Brian Wright's two-outsingle brought home the game-winning run.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Brian Wright helped offset one of this season's best individual performances in the New York-Penn League.
Wright singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday to give the Mahoning Valley Scrappers a 10-9 victory over the New Jersey Cardinals.
The timely hit by the Scrappers' right-fielder capped the completion of a game, tied 8-8, that was suspended in the eighth inning Friday night due to rain.
Mahoning Valley (38-26) and New Jersey (32-31) also were scheduled to play the third and final game of their series Saturday night at Cafaro Field.
"It was very difficult," Scrappers manager Chris Bando said of his team rallying after the suspension.
"That's why I give credit to the character of this team," Bando said, "because it was disappointing to come away with a tie last night when we had the game in our hands."
Wright's hit helped the Scrappers, who had trailed 9-8 going into the ninth inning, win their fourth straight game and keep their playoff hopes alive.
"He's been the clutch hitter all season long, leading our team in RBIs ," Bando said. "You couldn't ask for a better person at the plate with two outs."
The Scrappers prevailed despite the offensive effort of New Jersey first baseman John Santor, who went 3-for-4 with three home runs, including a grand slam in the fifth inning, and six RBIs.
"That kid was some kind of player," Bando said of Santor. "He's going to be a good major-league player."
Santor broke an 8-8 tie with his 13th home run of the season off Kevin Martin in the ninth inning. The ball hit off the wall behind the Cardinals' bullpen in left field.
"He about single-handedly beat us," Wright said of Santor.
But the Scrappers, who couldn't hold a 5-0 lead early in the game, had some offense left in the ninth. They strung together three straight singles -- by Shaun Larkin, Jeff Haase and Ben Francisco.
Francisco's hit dropped in shallow right center field to score pinch runner Neil Simoneaux with the tying run.
Two batters later, and with the bases loaded against pitcher Roberto Batista (0-3), Wright sliced a ball past the left-fielder to drive Francisco home with the winning run.
"It was a good way to get out of a mini slump," Wright said.
Wright's hit made a winner out of Martin (1-2), the Scrappers' fourth pitcher of the game, who worked 11/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit.
"We're showing what this team can be all about," Wright said.
The Scrappers announced that the Sept. 4 home game against the Jamestown Jammers will start at 7 p.m. and not 11 a.m., as originally intended. The promotion for the final home game is Buck Night Bash, in which every seat at Cafaro Field is $1. Gary Pirrung will play a pre-game concert in the picnic garden.
The New York-Penn League announced its playoff schedule and format. The League Playoff Series (LPS) will be played Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 8, if necessary, in the best-of-3 format. Included in the postseason will be champions from the Pinckney, Stedler and McNamara divisions and one wild-card team. The wild-card team will face its division champion in the LPS, and the other two division winners will play each other.
Sites of the playoff games will be determined by winning percentage. The two opponents with the lowest winning percentage will host Game 1 and play on the road for the remainder of the series.
Heading into play Saturday night, the Scrappers were 21/2 games behind Auburn for first place in the Pinckney Division and 11/2 games behind Williamsport for the wild-card spot.
NEW JERSEYMAHONING VALLEY
Boyer ss5021Francisco cf3321
Vandever rf3110Torres ss5021
Gorecki cf5110Osborn 3b6101
Santor dh4436Wright rf4121
Hanson 3b4121Peavey dh3220
Falu 2b5010Wallace c5221
Gonce lf3011Baxter 1b2012
Chauncey c4000Larkin 2b5021
Schmitt 1b4120Conroy lf4000
Woodrow rf0000Gomez pr0000
Estrada pr0100Simoneaux pr0100
E--Hanson 2. DP--New Jersey 2, Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Mahoning Valley 13, New Jersey 7. HR--Santor 3. 2B--Schmitt, Francisco. SH--Vandever, Gonce. SB--Francisco, Torres, Baxter. CS--Torres.
Batista L, 1-21 2-342212
Martin W, 1-21 1-311110
WP--Teekel 3, Schweitzer 4, Young. HBP--by Teekel (Francisco), by Allen (Hanson), by Teekel (Baxter). Umpires--Home, Jason Bradley; bases, Matt Kellam. T--3:20. A--3,800.