VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
NILES -- It took 13 innings and four hours and 24 minutes for the Scrappers' offense to produce something the team hadn't experienced since July 28 -- a game-winning run.
With two outs in the fourth extra inning of Saturday's game, P.J. Hiser hit the ball over the outstretched arm of Staten Island centerfielder Brett Gardner to bring home Andy Lytle for a 3-2 victory at Eastwood Field.
Facing Steve Schroer (Staten Island's fifth pitcher of the game), Lytle singled to lead off the bottom of the 13th and advanced to second base on Trevor Mortensen's sacrifice bunt.
After squandering six scoring opportunities in their first six at-bats, the Scrappers scored twice in the eighth inning for a 2-2 tie that helped snap a seven-game losing streak.
Summit County connection
Tallmadge native Jason Stephens, a 2003 draft pick of the New York Yankees, inherited a 2-0 lead when he took the mound for Staten Island in the fifth inning.
Stephens worked the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, allowing three hits and a walk, and striking out four.
But Stephens began the eighth by surrendering infield singles to Omar Casillas and Chris Clem and walking Derrick Peterson to ignite the Scrappers' comeback.
Reliever Erik Morrison's wild pitch brought home Casillas to cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1.
Morrison struck out pinch-hitter Chad Longworth, walked pinch-hitter Lytle to load the bases and struck out Mortensen. Lefthanded reliever Mike Wagner walked Jose Constanza on four pitches to tie the game then struck out Matt Fornasiere.
Much earlier, back-to-back doubles by Felipe Garcia and Eduardo Nunez in the fourth inning broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Scrappers ace Jensen Lewis (3-0) and Yankees starter Justin Berg (4-1).
Reegie Corona's single up the middle scored Nunez for a 2-0 Yankees lead. The Yankees had two baserunners when Lewis whiffed Gardner to end the frame.
In the first inning, Yankees leadoff batter Gardner snapped Lewis to attention when he beat out a ground ball hit to first baseman Hiser. Lewis was late in covering the bag, giving the Yankees their first baserunner.
Lewis responded by striking out James Cooper, John Poterson and Garcia.
With two outs in the first inning, the Scrappers mounted a miniature threat when Fornasiere reached base on an error and Hiser singled. But Berg struck out Casillas to end the inning.
How tough has it been for Scrappers' batters? A rare 8-3 double play wiped out their fourth-inning opportunity. After Casillas singled, Clem blooped the ball into shallow right-center field where Gardner made a sliding catch then easily threw out Casillas.
Former major leaguer Chad Zerbe made his Scrappers debut in the fifth inning and faced four batters. The left-hander spent parts of the 2001-03 seasons with the San Francisco Giants and made three appearances for the Giants in the 2002 World Series against the Anaheim Angels.
In 2004, Zerbe pitched for the Giants' Triple A team in Fresno, Calif. He was waived earlier this season and claimed by the Indians.
Stephens relieved Berg in the fifth inning and was in immediate trouble after giving up singles to Thomas and Constanza. But a groundout, strikeout and flyout kept the Scrappers off the scoreboard.
Gardner cf5010Thomas cf4010
Cooper lf6020Mortensen lf2000
Poterson dh5030Cnstnz rf/cf6031
Garcia 1b5110Fornasiere 2b6010
Nunez ss6111Hiser 1b6021
Burke c3010Casillas c6120
Pilittere c2000Clem 3b6110
Corona 2b5031Peterson dh3000
Canada 3b6010Deleon lf/cf2010
Perez rf5000Lngwrth ph/rf3000
Two outs when winning run scored.
E--Nunez. DP--Staten Island 1, Scrappers 1. LOB--Staten Island 13, Scrappers 17. 2B--Garcia, Nunez, Fornasiere. S--Poterson, Mortensen. SB--Corona, Constanza. CS--Burke, Corona, Constanza.
Schroer L, 2-22-321110
Vargas W, 1-0110000
Stephens pitched to 3 batters in the 8th. WP--Morrison. HBP--by Roddy (Garcia). BK--Berg, Stephens. PB--Casillas. Umpires--Home, Brad Myers; First, De'Andre Anderson. T--4:24. A--5,230.