NY-PENN LEAGUE Tri- &amp; Ccedil;ity faces Scrappers in series opener Sunday
The first game is at Eastwood Field at 6:05 p.m.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Game 1 of the New York-Penn League championship series has finally been set.
For the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, it's been about time.
Team officials from Mahoning Valley, Brooklyn and Tri-City agreed during a five-minute conference call Friday to open the best-of-3 title series Sunday at Eastwood Field.
The Scrappers (42-34) will play host to Tri-City (51-25), which eliminated Brooklyn 6-1 in their decisive game Friday night, with the first pitch set for 6:05 p.m.
"Hopefully this will accommodate all the football fans in the area," Scrappers general manager Dave Smith said.
And there are plenty of them. In 1 p.m. NFL games Sunday, the Browns play host to Baltimore at Cleveland Browns Stadium, while the Steelers welcome Oakland to Heinz Field.
"As far as getting people out here to support the team, this works to our advantage," Smith said. "There are fewer conflicts Sunday at 6 than Friday or Saturday night."
For the Scrappers, however, it means another day off. They haven't played since completing a sweep of Auburn in the semifinal series Tuesday.
From a baseball standpoint, "We were the only ones who preferred to play Saturday-Sunday-Monday, in that we've been sitting since Wednesday," Smith said. "But to make the finals as fair as possible, they allowed for the off day as scheduled."
Tri-City will now utilize today's off day to make the seven-hour drive to Mahoning Valley before Sunday's game.
Because Mahoning Valley is the wild card entrant and fourth seed, it must travel to Tri-City for Game 2 Monday and Game 3 Tuesday, if necessary.
The Scrappers have been playing their best baseball late in the season, having won 13 of their last 16 games -- and five straight -- to reach the championship series.
In three games this season against Tri-City, Mahoning Valley went 1-2.
Tri-City, located in Troy, N.Y., is the short-season affiliate of the Houston Astros.