Auburn's extra-inning win over Batavia gives the Doubledays thePinckney Ddivision title.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers' season had ended, and yet Bryce Uegawachi and Willie Aviles remained on the field.
With music playing and fans gathering along the railing at Cafaro Field one last time in 2002, Uegawachi and Aviles were the last to leave.
"Fan appreciation!" shouted Aviles, the Scrappers' batting coach, who retrieved baseballs from the clubhouse to toss into the crowd.
Uegawachi, an infielder from Honolulu, Hawaii, signed autographs for faithful fans, who had just watched the Scrappers rout Jamestown 15-2 Wednesday but still miss a playoff opportunity when Auburn beat Batavia 6-5 in 10 innings.
"This is something you can take with you," Uegawachi said of the autograph experience. "I don't know if I'm ever going to be in the major leagues, but at one point in time I'll remember that someone actually wanted me to sign something."
This was a night filled with suspense. The Scrappers (46-30) had come so close to making the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, but Auburn (47-29) rallied from a 5-1 deficit to clinch the Pinckney Division title of the New York-Penn League.
"I told the guys that we didn't lose it," Scrappers manager Chris Bando said. "Auburn won it."
Scrappers officials periodically flashed the score of Auburn's game at Batavia on the Cafaro Field scoreboard. When Batavia had taken its 5-1 lead in the sixth inning, the Scrappers had reason to believe.
"There were smiles and some happiness going on, but we knew they still had three innings to play," Scrappers outfielder Ben Francisco said.
If Auburn had lost, the Scrappers would have immediately bused to New York to face the Doubledays tonight in a one-game playoff for the division crown and automatic postseason berth.
"You're definitely scoreboard watching when it comes down to the last day or the last week," Bando said. "Anyone who tells you they don't are lying to you."
Ironically, when the Scrappers gathered on the field to celebrate their rout of Jamestown, the final score from Batavia was known.
"Batavia's bullpen just couldn't hold out for us," Bando said. "I told our guys that they're still champions in my eyes."
Going out on top
If it was any consolation, the Scrappers ended their season with a strong performance against the Jammers. Mahoning Valley had 14 hits and six stolen bases, and it took advantage of every Jamestown miscue.
Shaun Larkin had three hits and three RBIs; Einar Diaz, Francisco and Uegawachi each had two hits, with Diaz driving home three runs; and Brian Wright drove in four runs, three of which came on a seventh-inning home run.
"I'm just glad we played the way we can play," Uegawachi said. "This was a pennant race. You can't beat it."
The only mistake Scrappers starter Michael Rogers (8-4) made was a pitch that resulted in Daniel Ortiz's two-run home run in the second inning.
In six innings, Rogers allowed the two runs on five hits, with six strikeouts and a walk, for the victory. Fausto Carmona and Matt Blethen allowed one hit in the final three innings to finish Jamestown and the Scrappers' season.
Randel 2b3010Francisco lf3420
Arlis dh4010Diaz c5123
Rohleder cf3000Wright rf4114
Apotheker lf4000Peavey 1b4011
Puccinelli 3b4020Haase dh4210
Laidlaw rf2100Larkin 2b4233
Ortiz 1b4112Osborn 3b4210
Andino ss4000Uegawachi ss5120
Grzecka c3010Rojas cf5111
E--Randel 2, Apotheker, Johnson. DP--Jamestown 1, Mahoning Valley 2. LOB--Jamestown 6, Mahoning Valley 9. HR--Ortiz, Wright. 2B--Arlis, Larkin, Puccinelli. SB--Francisco 2, Rojas 3, Osborn.
Johnson L, 0-1448563
Rogers W, 8-4652216
WP--Rogers, Selmo 2. HBP--by Johnson (Diaz), by Rogers (Randel), by Rogers (Laidlaw), by Naylor (Larkin). Umpires--Home, Jason Bradley; bases, Matt Kellam. T--2:51. A--4,414.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, JAMESTOWN 0
Scrappers: Ben Francisco singled to left, advanced to second on an error by the left-fielder, stole third. Einar Diaz grounded out to second, Francisco scored. Brian Wright flied out to right. Bill Peavey grounded out to second. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 0 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 6, JAMESTOWN 2
Jammers: John Puccinelli flied out to center. Jacob Laidlaw walked, Daniel Ortiz homered over the left-field wall, Laidlaw scored. Robert Andino flied out to right. Casey Grzecka struck out. 2 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
Scrappers: Jeff Haase walked, Shaun Larkin doubled to left center, Haase scored. Pat Osborn walked, Bryce Uegawachi bunted to reach first, error on the pitcher allowed Larkin to score, Osborn to third. Ricardo Rojas flied out to the catcher. Francisco walked to load the bases, Uegawachi to second. Diaz was hit by a pitch, Osborn scored, Uegawachi to third, Francisco to second. Wright walked, Uegawachi scored, Francisco to third, Diaz to second. Peavey grounded out to second, Francisco scored, Diaz to third, Wright to second. Haase struck out. 5 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 8, JAMESTOWN 2
Scrappers: Rojas reached on an error by the second baseman, stole second. Francisco walked, stole second, Rojas stole third. Diaz struck out. Wright walked to load the bases. Peavey struck out. Haase reached on an error by the second baseman, Rojas, Francisco scored, Wright to second. 2 runs, 0 hits, 2 errors, 2 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 9, JAMESTOWN 2
Scrappers: Osborn singled to right, stole second. Uegawachi grounded out to second, Osborn to third. Rojas singled to right, Osborn scored. Francisco struck out. Diaz grounded out back to the pitcher. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 11, JAMESTOWN 2
Scrappers: Wright flied out to center. Peavey singled to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Haase singled to left. Peavey advanced to third on a wild pitch, Haase to second. Andy Baxter pinch ran for Peavey. Larkin singled to right, Baxter, Haase scored. Osborn grounded out to short. Uegawachi lined out to first. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 14, JAMESTOWN 2
Scrappers: Rojas grounded out back to the pitcher. Francisco singled to left, Diaz singled to left, Francisco to second. Wright homered over the right center field wall, Francisco, Diaz scored. Haase struck out. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 15, JAMESTOWN 2
Scrappers: Larkin was hit by pitch, Osborn flied out to second. Uegawachi singled to right, Larkin to second. Rojas struck out. Francisco walked to load the bases, Larkin to third, Uegawachi to second. Diaz singled in the infield, Larkin scored, Uegawachi to third, Francisco to second. Wright flied out to third. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left.