By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Never in the long history of baseball has a contending team so badly needed a two-day all-star break.
After surrendering a team-record 18 runs to the Batavia Muckdogs on Friday, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers lost to the Muckdogs 19-6 Sunday at Eastwood Field.
The Scrappers (29-31), who are in the midst of a nine-game homestand -- longest in team history -- will be off until Wednesday so the New York-Penn League can play its all-star game in Brooklyn Tuesday night.
Wednesday, Jamestown comes in for a three-game series.
The Muckdogs (26-33), who are not to be confused with the 1927 New York Yankees, outscored the Scrappers 50-20 in sweeping the four-game weekend set.
No home advantage
The Scrappers have the second-to-worst home record (12-18) in the league.
Earlier this month, the Scrappers won eight of nine game to improve to three games over .500 (28-25).
Since then they've lost five of six and are one of six teams in a dog fight for the lone wild card spot.
Scrappers manager Rouglas Odor was asked what's happened to the team's home field advantage.
"Good question," he said. "We don't know how we play better on the road than here at home.
"The guys go out and give a good effort but we don't get the result we want," Odor said.
Mahoning Valley starting pitcher Jensen Lewis (4-2) couldn't make it out of the third inning despite striking out six of the first 11 men he faced.
"I came out and felt good," Lewis said. "In the third, they just put a couple of hits together.
"I probably left a couple of pitches up. But, other than that I had good stuff. The rest of it speaks for itself. It's just a day I'd rather forget."
The Muckdogs hit a pair of two-run home runs off Lewis in the third inning and added an RBI single for a 5-0 cushion.
Mahoning Valley scored once in the fourth and P.J. Hiser hit a two-run homer to right in the fifth to close the gap to 5-3. Then, futility set in as the Muckdogs went on a 14-0 run.
Hiser has four home runs over the last seven days.
Cheaper by the dozen
In the eighth inning, the Muckdogs scored 12 runs -- the most ever surrendered in one frame by the Scrappers -- on nine hits.
The inning saw the Muckdogs connect on back-to-back-to-back home runs, the first in the series being a grand slam.
Batavia had 21 hits in the game including six balls that cleared the fence.
The Scrappers had their chances, accumulating 24 baserunners. They left 14 men on base, including 10 in scoring position.
Matt Fornasiere was walked three times.
He was asked if the all-star break came at the right spot in the schedule.
"You hit it on the nose right there," Fornasiere said. "It's just an unfortunate series.
"We can play better but we did good things too."
Denies wall factor
He said the team has not hit a wall, refusing to blame the poor results on a baseball superstition.
"We had a seven-game losing streak before and that was more of not hitting at all or not getting the clutch hit," Fornasiere said. "We just need to put it all together."
Odor identified one reason Batavia players hit so many homers: The Scrappers' pitchers were falling behind in the count too often.
That is just one of several items the team will address in its two days off.
Odor has practice sessions set for the team for the next two days so they can regain their focus. Some players will get time off from baseball because of the length of the season.
"We're going to work and get ready," Odor said. "We'll be here for those who want to work."
Diaz cf6233Constanza lf5023
Dalton 2b5100Thomas cf6130
Harris 1b6355Fornasiere 2b2100
Costanzo dh5423Hiser 1b5113
Slayden lf6444Longworth rf5000
Baez 3b3112Lytle 3b5120
Anton. pr/ss2100Cumber. dh 4110Marson c6020Reifenberger c5130
Hardy ss/3b5121Chavez ss3000
Szabo rf 6220
E--Diaz, Fornasiere, Reifenberger, Chavez. DP--Scrappers 1. LOB--Batavia 10, Scrappers 14. 3B--Constanza. HR--Harris, Constanzo 2, Slayden 2, Baez, Hiser. SB--Szabo, Lytle.
Harker, W, 1-2563331
Hill S, 3463333
J. Lewis L, 4-22.285507
HBP--by Lewis (Dalton), by Harker (Constanza), by Lewis (Baez), by Lewis (Diaz) by Woodson (Hardy. PB--Reifenberger. Umpires--Home, Craig Barron; First, Mike Patterson. T--3:38. A--4,050.