Scrappers fail to hold lead, drop seventh straight game
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Even a terrific pitching performance wasn't enough to lift the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to victory.
The Scrappers lost for the seventh straight time, falling to the Staten Island Yankees 3-1 in 11 innings Friday at Eastwood Field.
Mahoning Valley starter Joe Ness (2-1) pitched the first five innings and left with a 1-0 lead. Ness has a 2-0 record at Eastwood Field this season and hasn't allowed an earned run there.
"I just wanted to come out tonight and cut loose and just do what got me here," Ness said. "That is just relax and throw the ball over the plate and give us a chance to win the ballgame."
Ness allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four with an effective fastball. He mixed in a change-up and a curveball to keep Staten Island hitters guessing.
Nine in a row
After permitting a ground-rule double to open the game, Ness retired the next nine Yankees he faced.
Given the depth of offensive woes that have presented themselves to the Scrappers over the last 10 games, it's a wonder the team is just 2 1/2 games out of first place in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division.
The Scrappers (20-24) are 1-9 over their last 10 games and have scored just nine runs during the seven-game losing streak.
"The offense has struggled in our losing streak a little bit but every good team goes through it so we just have to keep battling," Ness said.
When some players bat the ball well, they are said to have their hitting shoes on. The Scrappers have eased into their slippers, tip-toeing their way through an anemic batting order.
The Yankees (28-14) held Mahoning Valley to just four hits over the 11 innings but the Scrappers did get their lead-off hitter on base in six of the first eight innings, four times with walks.
Brent Thomas walked to lead off the last of the first inning and two outs later P.J. Hiser tripled to right for a 1-0 lead.
Between the second and the sixth inning, Mahoning Valley managed to put four baserunners into scoring position but were unable to come up with a big base hit.
"There's nothing we can do," Scrappers manager Rouglas Odor said. "Unfortunately nothing is working for us, except for pitching."
Ness was replaced in the sixth by Justin Pekarek who threw four strong innings of relief. Although he got into some trouble, he allowed no earned runs and struck out seven.
"He did a great job," Odor said of Ness who is finally recovered from an injured leg.
"Justin [Pekarek] gave us a chance to win the game, again," Odor said.
Pekarek left with the game tied 1-1.
The last 18 Scrappers to bat in the game were retired although Thomas did single to open the eighth inning. He was then caught stealing.
In the top of the 11th with Matt Loberg pitching for the Scrappers, the Yankees used three singles, a stolen base and a passed ball to score twice.
Gardner cb6131Thomas cf4110
Cooper lf4000Constanza rf5000
Poterson rf5020Kzmanoff 3b2000
Larson 1b2010Peterson 3b2000
Pilittere ph/1b1001Hiser 1b4011
Nunez ss5010Clem dh3000
Garcia dh5000Fornasier 2b3000
Burke c4110Mortensen lf4010
Carroll 3b5110Lytle ss3010
Corona 2b4000Woodson c3000
E--Peterson, Fornasier. DP--Staten Island 1, Scrappers 1. LOB--Staten Island 11, Scrappers 5. 2B--Gardner, Larson. 3B--Hiser. S--Cooper, Pilittere, Lytle, Woodson. SB--Burke, Carroll, Corona. CS--Thomas.
Stuart W, 1-0200003
Loberg L, 0-3242200
PB--Woodson. Umpires--Home, De'Andre Anderson; First, Brad Myers. T--3:09. A--5,446.