Mahoning Valley begins its longest road trip of the season tonight in Jamestown.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers' final homestand of the season finished with flared tempers and dashed momentum. Their upcoming nine-game road trip just got a little longer.
"A loss like this can either send you into the doldrums or motivate you," Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "Hopefully it motivates us."
Six outs away from their fifth straight victory, the Scrappers imploded in the eighth inning and lost to Aberdeen, 7-6, Thursday at Eastwood Field.
Morgan Clendenin's three-run home run in the eighth highlighted a six-run inning as Aberdeen (32-34) rallied to beat the Scrappers (35-32), who begin their longest road trip of the season tonight in Jamestown, N.Y.
"We'll find out in the next couple of days," said Sarbaugh, when asked if the road trip will unify the team. "We'll see what we're made of."
Following Clendenin's home run, Sarbaugh argued vehemently with both umpires for several minutes that Aberdeen's baserunners overlapped each other during the play.
"Neither of them saw it," Sarbaugh said of the umpires. "But we shouldn't have put ourselves in that situation, and we did. That's baseball."
With a New York-Penn League playoff berth at stake, Mahoning Valley can't afford any setbacks. The Scrappers dropped a game behind Hudson Valley in the wild card race.
"A lot of teams go on a nine-day road trip and they don't have a lot to play for," said Scrappers third baseman Chris Gimenez, who doubled in the first inning. "We do have that as an upside."
Mahoning Valley built a 6-1 lead through seven innings, but relievers Mike Hernandez, Scott Roehl (1-1) and the Scrappers' shaky defense contributed to their undoing down the stretch.
Scrappers shortstop Brian Finegan singled four times, but he also committed two errors in the deciding eighth inning.
"We struggled to throw strikes," Sarbaugh said, "and when you don't make the plays [defensively], everything just snowballs."
Tim Montgomery's three-run homer and Mario Matulich's RBI double helped put Mahoning Valley ahead 6-1 in the third.
But the Scrappers still stranded 10 runners on base and couldn't win despite Aberdeen's seven errors.
"We had too many opportunities to really put the game away and we couldn't come through," Sarbaugh said.
Gimenez added, "This is just one of those things that happens. Tomorrow we'll get back after it and see what happens."
On the road again
The Scrappers finish the season with three games each at Jamestown (24-40), Williamsport (31-34) and Batavia (27-39).
Left-hander Tony Sipp (2-1, 3.74) will start for Mahoning Valley tonight. On Saturday, left-hander Aaron Laffey (2-1, 1.65) takes the mound against the Jammers.
"This is good for development," Sarbaugh said of the final stretch. "We're in some important games. At crunch time, you've got to concentrate."
Sultemeier cf5100Reyes cf4110
Robinson 2b5121Finegan ss5140
Duncan dh4011Toregas c5200
Smith 1b1000Gimenez 3b5010
Costello ph/1b2110Montgmry lf5113
Ascencion lf4220Parker 2b4110
Clendenin c4123Matulich dh5021
Shafer rf4011Pacheco 1b3000
Diaz 3b4000Encarnacion rf4010
E--Petrick 2, Smith, Boehm, Diaz, Costello, Hanan, Finegan 2. LOB--Aberdeen 6, Scrappers 10. HR--Montgomery, Clendenin. 2B--Gimenez, Matulich. SB--Hanan, Finegan 2. CS--Costello. SF--Duncan.
Boehm W, 2-1420024
De Los Santos 330011
Roehl L, 1-11 2-332001WP--Felix, Hernandez. HBP--by Boehm (Parker). PB--Toregas. Umpires--Home, Mike Winestein; Bases, Art Thigpen. T--2:47. A--5,420.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, ABERDEEN 0
Scrappers: Russ Petrick pitching. Argenis Reyes grounded out to the pitcher. Brian Finegan singled to left, advanced to second on an error by the pitcher. Wyatt Toregas reached on a fielder's choice, Finegan out at third. Chris Gimenez doubled to left, Toregas scored, Gimenez out going to third. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 0 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 1, ABERDEEN 1
Ironbirds: Justin Hoyman pitching. C.J. Smith struck out. Quincy Ascencion singled to left, Morgan Clendenin singled to right, Ascencion to third. Corey Shafer grounded out to second, Ascencion scored, Clendenin to second. Rafael Diaz grounded out to the pitcher. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 6, ABERDEEN 1
Scrappers: Petrick pitching. Reyes singled in the infield, advanced to second on an error by the pitcher. Finegan singled to left, Reyes to third. Toregas reached on an error by the first baseman, Reyes scored, Finegan to third, Toregas to second. Gimenez grounded out to third. Tim Montgomery homered over the left-field wall, Finegan, Toregas scored. Brett Parker singled in the infield, Mario Matulich doubled to right center, Parker scored. Fernando Pacheco flied out to right. 5 runs, 5 hits, 2 errors, 1 left.
ABERDEEN 7, MAHONING VALLEY 6
Ironbirds: Mike Hernandez pitching. Blake Hanan walked, Eric Sultemeier reached on a fielder's choice, Hanan advanced to third on an error by the shortstop. Levi Robinson singled up the middle, Hanan scored, Sultemeier to second. Sultemeier to third, Robinson to second on a wild pitch. Sultemeier scored on a wild pitch, Robinson to third. Jake Duncan flied out to center to sacrifice Robinson home. Mike Costello walked. Scott Roehl in to pitch. Ascencion reached on an error by the shortstop, Costello to second. Clendenin homered over the left-field wall, Costello, Ascencion scored. Shafer grounded out to the pitcher. Diaz flied out to first base. 6 runs, 2 hits, 2 errors, 0 left.