It fought back from a 4-0 deficit, only to drop a 5-4 decision to the Vermont Expos at Cafaro Field.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- There is no doubt that this year's edition of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers truly has lived up to its nickname, but all the scrapping the team has done the last two games has not produced a victory.
Friday night, the Scrappers battled back from a 4-0 deficit to drop a 5-4 decision to the Vermont Expos in front of 3,780 fans at Cafaro Field.
The loss dropped Mahoning Valley to the .500 mark at 12-12 in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.
"We certainly give them their money's worth," said Scrappers manager Chris Bando.
"Tonight we just couldn't get anything going offensively early on, and then we made a couple of mistakes that cost us," he added. "We have to get better defensively."
Starting pitcher Shane Wallace, who is doing his rehabilitation from elbow surgery with the Scrappers, struggled through 51/3 innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, and dropped to 2-2.
"Shane struggled tonight," Bando said. "He could only get one pitch over the plate and that was his fastball, and you're not going to survive at this level with just one pitch."
The Scrappers struggled at the plate also, getting just four hits in the game, three in the first seven innings off Vermont starter and winner Michael Hinckley (2-1).
Of the Scrappers' four hits, two were for extra bases. Center-fielder and leadoff hitter Ben Francisco had a double in the third inning to keep his hitting streak alive at 11 games, while second baseman Shaun Larkin ripped a two-run home run into the Scrappers bullpen in right field in the seventh inning to account for the team's only runs.
"We're in their fighting in every game, we're definitely not giving up out there," Bando said. "We just need to tighten up our defense a little bit and start swinging the bats a little better.
"Francisco has an 11-game hitting streak and he's swinging the bat very well right now," Bando added. "What we need is for some of the other guys to pick it up a little bit, and with a little more effort."
While the Scrappers struggled at the plate, the Expos had a hot night, ripping 14 singles, with left-fielder Chad Chop and shortstop Henry Encarnacion leading the way with three hits apiece.
"You've got to give them credit, they swung the bats very well tonight and when they needed to," Bando said.
While Wallace struggled, he still managed to set the Expos down in the first two innings, before they got to him for a single run in the third.
The rally was started by an error on third baseman Pat Osborn, and then singles by Larry Broadway and Chop produced the run.
In the sixth, the Expos scored three runs on four singles. One was on a bad hop over Larkin's glove at second. Simon Young came on in relief of Wallace in the inning, and gave up a two-run single to Brian Anderson.
In the Scrappers' seventh inning, Jeff Haase reached on an error to lead off, and Bill Peavey was hit by a pitch. Vermont then pulled off a double play on Osborn's ground out, but Larkin stepped in and drilled a shot into the bullpen to close the gap to 4-2.
Vermont added a run in the eighth when Chop led off with a single, and moved to second when Young threw wildly in a pick-off attempt. Chop scored on a single by Encarnacion.
Tried to rally
The Scrappers tried to make a comeback in the ninth when Brian Wright walked to lead off and Haase was hit by a pitch. Peavey moved both runners over with a ground out and then Wright scored on Osborn's grounder to second. Larkin then singled past first base to score Haase. Pinch-hitter David Wallace struck out to end the contest.
The Scrappers begin a three-game series with Batavia tonight at 7 at Cafaro Field.
Fitzpatrick cf4000Francisco cf4010
Conlisk 2b4020Baxter dh4000
Broadway 1b5120Wright lf3100
Johnson dh4000Haase c3200
Chop lf5231Peavey 1b2000
Weese 3b4120Osborn 3b4011
Encarnacion ss4132Larkin 2b4123
Brown rf3000Simeoneaux pr0000
Anderson c4022Conroy rf3000
D. Wallace ph1000
E--Encarnacion, Osborn, Young. DP-- Expos 2; Scrappers 2. LOB--Expos 9; Scrappers 4. 2B--Francisco. HR--Larkin. SB--Encarnacion. CS--Encarnacion.
Hinckley, W 2-1732122
Beck, S 11-300001
S. Wallace, L 2-25 1-394423
Umpires--Home, Brian Reilly; second, Ed Hickox. T--2:35. A--3,780.
HOW THEY SCORED
EXPOS 1, SCRAPPERS 0
Vermont -- Reggie Fitzpatrick grounded out. Jason Conlisk reached on an error at third. Larry Broadway singled to center, but Conlisk was thrown out at third base. Seth Johnson walked, Broadway to second. Chad Chop singled to center scoring Broadway. Johnson to second. Nate Weese flied out to right. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 LOB.
EXPOS 4, SCRAPPERS 0
Vermont -- Johnson grounded out. Chop singled up the middle. Weese singled to right with Chop to second. Henry Encarnacion singled to right scoring Chop, Weese to third. (Simon Young in to pitch). Tony Brown struck out. Encarnacion stole second. Brian Anderson singled to right scoring Weese and Encarnacion. Fitzpatrick grounded out. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
EXPOS 4, SCRAPPERS 2
Mahoning Valley -- Jeff Haase reached on an error. Bill Peavey was hit by a pitch, Haase to second. Pat Osborn hit into a double play short-to-second-to-first, Haase to third. Shaun Larkin homered to right field scoring Haase. Mike Conroy struck out. 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 error, O LOB.
EXPOS 5, SCRAPPERS 2
Vermont -- Chop singled to right. Chop to second on error by Young trying a pickoff. Weese grounded out, Chop to third. Encarnacion singled to right scoring Chop. Encarnacion was thrown out trying to steal second. Brown flied out to left. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB.
EXPOS 5, SCRAPPERS 4
Mahoning Valley -- Wright walked. Haase was hit by a pitch, Wright to second. Peavey grounded out with Wright moving to third and Haase to second. Osborn grounded out to second scoring Wright, Haase to third. Larkin singled past first base scoring Haase. Dave Wallace struck out. 2 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.