By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The pregame message took about eight innings to sink in.
But when it did, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers may have found a rescue from their current doldrums.
The Scrappers fell behind the New Jersey Cardinals 8-0 in the sixth inning at Eastwood Field Thursday and had every reason to put the bats away.
But then Mike Butia remember an earlier pep talk and the Scrappers found life before losing the New York-Penn League game, 8-3.
Speaking about manager Mike Sarbaugh, Butia said, "He's really taught us and he keeps preaching every time 'Don't go up there and throw away at-bats. You always got a chance.' "
Rally in ninth
The Scrappers (19-21), who are mired in the depths of a six-game losing streak, trailed by eight runs entering the last of the ninth.
Then Brian Finegan singled for the second time and Argenis Reyes and Marshall Szabo walked to load the bases.
After a strikeout, Butia singled in two runs to avoid the shutout.
"It's not really a big hit," Butia said. "It was nice to breakup the shutout.
"You know when they're up eight runs, they're going to come right at you so it makes it a little easier as a hitter."
He entered the game tied for ninth in the league in hitting with a .312 batting average. Butia added a single in the sixth and a walk.
Chris Gimenez followed Butia with a run-producing double -- the third extra-base hit of the game for Mahoning Valley.
"We were just a couple more hits from making it interesting," Butia said. "We were out here early and he [Sarbaugh] was talking about it today -- 'don't quit, don't give up your at-bats. Get up there and battle; you just don't know what's going to happen.' "
Sarbaugh saw the team find life late in the game -- they had seven of their 11 hits in the last three innings.
"It would be nice to try to get some of that together earlier in the game." Sarbaugh said. "But, it was nice to see them battle back at the end."
Struggling of late
After winning 11 of 13 games, the Scrappers have played into a funk, losing a season-high six straight.
"It's the nature of the game and you got to fight through those down times," Sarbaugh said.
The ninth-inning rally caught the coach's attention.
"It's always nice just to get some guys on the bases and make some things happen," Sarbaugh said.
"Hopefully we'll come back tomorrow [Friday] and build off what we did."
Jake Mullinax had a double, triple and four RBIs for the Cardinals (18-18).
NEW JERSEYMAHONING VALLEY
Dobsob cf4320Reyes cf4120
Patrick 2b4120Szabo 2b4100
Sherman dh4231Toregas c3000
Mullinax 3b5124Encarnacn rf2000
Ferris 1b5110Butia dh4022
Webber dh4011Gimenez lf5021
Swckhmmr lf4000Montgmry rf4010
Toops c5011Parker 3b4020
Shepherd ss4010Pacheco 1b3000
E--Toops, Haynes. DP--Cardinals 1. LOB--Cardinals 9; Scrappers 12. 2B--Dobson, Sherman, Mullinax, Ferris, Reyes, Gimenez, Parker. 3B--Mullinax. HBP--Patrick. CS--Webber.
Aguero W, 2-3110011
Lewis L, 0-2231104