Mahoning Valley nearly rallied before losing, 6-5.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- If a baseball team learns more about itself from a tough loss than from an easy win, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers found out plenty about their character Thursday.
The Jamestown Jammers bundled a double, two singles and two walks to score three runs in the top of the 13th inning, then held on to beat the Scrappers 6-5 at Eastwood Field.
Despite trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the 13th, the Scrappers nearly rallied for an improbable win.
The New York-Penn League game was the longest of the season in terms of both innings (13) and time (4 hours, 19 minutes) for the Scrappers (26-28).
Just how long was the game?
When asked to comment on the fine job by starting pitcher Aaron Laffey, Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh responded, "Was that today?"
Laffey pitched the first six innings, allowing just four singles and no runs. He exited with a 2-0 lead.
"He pitched well," Sarbaugh said. "He deserved to get the 'W.' "
Four relief pitchers permitted 10 hits and six earned runs in seven innings.
The Scrappers gave Laffey an early lead when Chris Gimenez hit a first-inning homer into the bullpen in right.
"It was a good swing," Sarbaugh said of the two-out homer. "The ball was out over the plate and he drove it that way."
Gimenez is now in a four-way tie for second place in the NYPL with eight home runs.
In a low-scoring pitchers duel, no baseball team can afford to waste scoring opportunities. Mahoning Valley stranded runners on third base in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings.
"That came back to haunt us," Sarbaugh said.
"That's why we've had a little bit of a [winning] streak lately -- we get guys on and guys are coming through, especially with two outs. We didn't do it tonight."
Laffey saw his lead double to 2-0 in the fourth inning on a daring piece of base running.
Brett Parker and Gimenez got on with back-to-back walks. One out later Parker scored from second on a fielding error by an infielder.
"That was a big play, especially without getting a hit in that inning to get a run," Sarbaugh said.
In the eighth inning the Jammers (18-33) converted two walks, two singles, an error and a wild pitch into two runs, knotting the score at 2.
Jamestown scored again in the ninth to assume a 3-2 lead but it could have been worse.
A runner tried to score from second base after a single to right but Teo Encarnacion threw him out at the plate.
"That was beautiful," Sarbaugh said of the thrilling relay. "[Catcher] Wyatt [Toregas] did a nice job catching the ball; it was a tough hop."
Inspired by that defense, the Scrappers scored in the bottom of the ninth to tie it again when pinch-hitter Fernando Pacheco singled home Argenis Reyes.
After Jamestown scored three times in its half of the 13th, Mike Butia and Tim Montgomery singled. Reyes singled both home to make it 6-5.
Pacheco was hit by a pitch to advance Reyes but the Jammers avoided any more damage.
Cleveland 3b7010Finegan ss7010
McMillan 2b5230Parker 3b/2b5110
Fulton ss6021Gimenz 1b/3b4111
Restko 1b7111Butia lf6110
Carroll cf/rf6000Toregas c5010
Sewell lf5011Montgomry cf5110
Davis dh5130Matulich dh3000
Gaston ef2010Reyes ph/dh2122
Pietro ph/cf3110Encarnacin rf4000
Alen c5000Clem 2b3000
Wyman ph/c1112Pachco ph/1b2011
E--McMillan, Clem 2. DP--Jamestown 1. LOB--Jamestown 13, Scrappers 11. 2B--Wyman, Toregas. 3B--Finegan. HR--Gimenez. SH--Encarnacion. CS--Cleveland.
Humen W, 1-2232203
Santana L, 1-2133322
WP--Latcher, Hogan, Humen, Laffey, Hernandez, Harris. HBP--by Hogan (Gimenez), by Humen (Pacheco). BK--Lacher. Umpires--home Gerald Ascani, 1st Jason Arends. T--4:19. A--4,952.