Mahoning Valley's starting pitching has been ineffective lately.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley Scrappers rallied from one deficit but couldn't overcome a second hurdle and lost to the Batavia Muckdogs, 6-4, Friday at Eastwood Field.
The Muckdogs (24-33) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning but saw the Scrappers (29-29) tie it at 3-all in the bottom of the frame.
A two-run homer in the second inning made it 5-3 Batavia and an unearned run in the fourth increased the Muckdog advantage to 6-3.
The lethal combination of ineffective starting pitching and little production from half the batting order proved to be a 1-2 knockout combination to Mahoning Valley.
Ryan Edell (3-3) started for the Scrappers but yielded a double, three singles and a walk in the first inning. After two consecutive strong starts, Edell threw 36 pitches in the first inning alone.
"That hurts," Scrappers' manager Rouglas Odor said of Edell failure to get Batavia batters out early. "He made too many [pitches] so he got tired."
Edell pitched just the first three innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) and five hits. He walked three Muckdogs.
First inning rally
Highlighted by an RBI double by P.J. Hiser, the Scrappers sent eight hitters to the plate in the first inning to tie the game and draw praise from Odor.
"I was very excited; we didn't quit," Odor said. "We had a chance to win the game, too."
The Scrappers scored again in the fifth inning. Jose Constanza reached on a bunt for his second hit and then stole second and third.
Constanza, who leads the New York-Penn League with 22 stolen bases, scored on Hiser's single to make it 6-4.
Quality relief pitching
After Edell was pulled, relief pitchers Jose Amaya, Albert Vargas and Dustin Roddy combined to pitch six quality innings. They allowed just one unearned run and five hits.
Shortstop Jose Chavez singled to lead off the last of the seventh inning but was stranded at third base.
"I was just trying to protect the plate," Chavez said. "I had two strikes on that and I got the base hit. I was trying for a double."
The Scrappers left six runners on base, three in scoring position.
"We've been struggling the past three games but we're just battling right now," Chavez said. "We can't lose any more because we're in the [playoff] race right now. Hopefully we'll get to the playoffs and go all the way."
Lost four of last five
The Scrappers have lost four of their last five and are one of five NYPL teams fighting for the one wild card spot.
The last four hitters in the lineup were a combined 1-for-15.
"Some of the time we're going to struggle," Odor said of their lack of production. "Some of the time we're going to hit the ball better."
The Scrappers are hitting .253 as a team. As a point of reference, a gallon of regular gasoline costs more.
E--Hardy, Thomas, Fornasiere. DP--Scrappers 2; LOB--Muckdogs 6, Scrappers 6; 2B--Baez, MacFarlane, Hiser; 3B--Longworth; HR--Williams; SB--Constanza 2.
Kendrick (W 5-2)674214
PB--Marson; Umpires: Home-Craig Barron, 1st-Mike Patterson; T--2:40; A--4,674.