By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- With the Auburn Doubledays rapidly running away with the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division, this weekend's showdown between Batavia and Mahoning Valley looks like it might determine the other end of the standings.
Based on Friday's outcome, the Scrappers will be chasing the front-runners for awhile.
The Muckdogs (9-10) batted around in the third inning and rolled to a 10-2 win over the Scrappers (8-13).
With a 12-game winstreak, the Doubledays (16-3) have opened a seven-game lead in the standings.
All areas struggled
At least the Scrappers have plenty of areas to share the blame -- starting pitching failed, a lack of timely hitting took its toll and the top of the lineup failed to produce.
The first 12 Mahoning Valley hitters were retired in order.
In the fifth inning, the Scrappers got a two-out RBI single by Brian Finegan to score Wyatt Toregas and cut the deficit to 8-1.
Mahoning Valley left the bases loaded in the fifth inning and again in the sixth, needing a big hit each frame to close the gap.
"A couple [runs] each inning would have helped to chip away at it," Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "It just didn't happen."
The top five hitters in the Mahoning Valley lineup were a combined 1-for-19 at the plate.
"It was just one of those nights," Sarbaugh said. "When some guys are struggling, other guys have to pick those guys up. It just didn't happen tonight."
De Los Santos hit hard
Starting pitcher Richard De Los Santos (0-3) was hit hard. He gave up a solo homer in the first inning and a lead-off double in the second led to a 2-0 margin.
By the time De Los Santos was lifted in the third inning, the Muckdogs had used four singles, a hit batter and a bases-loaded walk to make it 8-0.
"They've been doing a great job all year," Sarbaugh said of his starting pitching.
"You're going to have those nights. Offense have to pick them up. We didn't do that."
The Scrappers were out-hit 11-6 but Toregas turned in his third three-hit game of the season.
"I was seeing the ball well tonight," said Toregas who added a double and scored twice. "They came out swinging it in the first couple of innings. We had a lot of things working against us tonight."
Tim Montgomery turned in two terrific catches in center field to squelch early rallies.
With a Muckdog on base and two outs, Montgomery raced in and dove to catch the ball in his outstretched glove to end the first frame.
In the big third inning with one out, Montgomery covered a lot of ground before diving for a catch in shallow left,
"I had a pretty good jump on the first one," Montgomery said of the gem. "The second one was more towards left. [Left fielder Mike] Butia was playing towards the line. I had to kind of cover up for his ground. It was kind of last second on that one."
Gamble lf5220Reyes dh5000
Hardy ss4120Szabo 2b4000
Frith cf4212Gimenez 1b3000
Shimer dh3122Butia lf3010
Norman c4112Cruz cf0000
Galloway 1b4210Mntgmry cf/lf4000
Crosland rf4001Toregas c4230
Isaacson 2b4012Encarnacn rf3001
Buffone 2b0000Finegan ss3011
Orr 3b4111Clem 3b3010
DP--Muckdogs 1. LOB--Muckdogs 8, Scrappers 8. 2B--Galloway, Toregas, Clem. HR--Frith. SF--Norman. SB--Toregas.
Griffith W, 1-2521125
De Los Santos L, 0-32 1-378821
Umpires--Home: Dan Bolino; first: Jason Arends. T--2:42. A--4,426.