Mahoning Valley took three straight from the Cardinals after 10-9 and 5-0 wins Saturday.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers have found a rhythm. Now, it's time to take their show on the road.
Using Brian Wright's bat and Brian Slocum's arm, the Scrappers completed a three-game sweep of the New Jersey Cardinals with 10-9 and 5-0 victories Saturday at Cafaro Field.
Winners of five straight games, the Scrappers (39-26) will play their next eight on the road, beginning today at Batavia, attempting to improve their playoff positioning.
Slocum (4-2), a right-hander from Eastchester, N.Y., sent the Scrappers off by pitching one of the team's best games this season. He shut out New Jersey (32-32) through eight innings, allowing just two singles while striking out eight and walking one.
"I'm just happy that it came at this time of the season," said Slocum, whose team is chasing Auburn for the Pinckney Division title. "These two wins were huge."
Feeling late-season fatigue in his arm, Slocum said he benefited from the New York-Penn League's day off Wednesday.
"That helped a lot more than it sounds," Slocum said. "That one day off helped me a ton tonight."
Scrappers manager Chris Bando, who called Slocum's performance "dominating," didn't hesitate to pull his pitcher after the eighth and call on reliever Michael Hernandez. Slocum had reached his pitch count.
"I was just happy to go this far this late in the season," Slocum said.
Bill Peavey and Shaun Larkin provided Slocum's offensive support.
Peavey continued his recent string of good games by hitting a three-run home run in a four-run first inning. Larkin added a solo shot in the fourth.
The Scrappers' first win Saturday was the completion of Friday's game that was suspended in the eighth inning due to rain.
Wright helped offset one of the best individual performances in the league this season. The right-fielder singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning for the 10-9 win.
"That just shows we have the character of a championship team," Bando said.
Wright's hit helped the Scrappers overcome a 9-8 deficit going into the ninth inning.
"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.
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 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.
NEW JERSEYMAHONING VALLEY
Boyer ss4000Francisco cf4000
Woodrow rf4000Torres ss4110
Gorecki cf4010Osborn 3b4010
Santor 1b3010Wright rf3120
Hanson 3b3000Wallace dh4110
Parker c3000Peavey 1b2113
Schmitt dh3000Haase c4000
Tolotti lf3010Larkin 2b3111
Durham 2b2000Gomez lf2000
E--Parker. DP--Mahoning Valley 1. LOB--Mahoning Valley 5, New Jersey 4. HR--Peavey, Larkin. SB--Torres, Gomez.
Davidson L, 5-3565523
Slocum W, 4-2820018
WP--Davidson. HBP--by Slocum (Durham). Umpires--Home, Matt Kellam; bases, Jason Bradley. T--2:11. A--5,501.
COMPLETION OF FIRST GAME
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.