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Scrappers send five to first 'star game



Published: Tue, August 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mahoning Valley sent the most players of any AL affiliates to Brooklyn. By BILL SULLIVAN VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF NILES -- Pitcher Jensen Lewis came just short of calling it the biggest honor of his life and he won't even get to play in the game. When the New York-Penn League holds its first-ever all-star game tonight at Keyspan Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lewis will be one of five representatives of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in uniform. "Obviously it's an honor to go there," Lewis said of the selection. "I'm proud to represent the Mahoning Valley. It's a great opportunity." Lewis threw too many pitches in his start in Sunday's game against the Batavia Muckdogs, so he'll be relegated to the bench, Scrappers manager Rouglas Odor said. Also playing for the American League team from the Scrappers will be pitcher Joe Ness, catcher Omar Casillas, infielder Matt Fornasiere and outfielder Jose Constanza. With five players, the Scrappers (29-31) will send the most representatives of all the American League affiliates to the game. "It's fantastic to be able to go up there and represent the club," Lewis said. "You make an all-star team anywhere and obviously you've done some things along the way that merit that. I'm just honored and humbled to have that opportunity." Their numbers so far Lewis (4-2) has started 10 games this summer, pitching 50 innings. He's allowed 49 hits, 22 earned runs and has struck out 45. Fornasiere, who has 16 multi-hit games in 60 outings, played shortstop early in the year but has been a fixture at second base recently. "It's my first year and I couldn't ask for anything better," Fornasiere said of the selection. He's hitting .271 (57-for-210) with 14 doubles. He leads the team with 36 runs scored. So is it the top honor of his life? "I guess it's a start," Fornasiere said. "I wouldn't say it's the best honor of my life, but it's right up there in my baseball career." Ness (3-1, 2.00 ERA) came on in relief Saturday against Batavia and threw six strong innings. In that appearance he struck out 11 and gave up just three hits. On the year Ness has appeared in 11 games, starting seven. He's thrown 45 innings with 50 strikeouts. Ness has permitted just 10 earned runs. Casillas has emerged as one of the most reliable position players for Mahoning Valley. After a 3-for-5 game against Batavia Saturday, Casillas is hitting .296 (45-for-152) with 10 doubles and 16 RBIs. Constanza leads the league with 22 steals. Playing with a broken finger on his right (glove) hand, he's batting .260 (65-for-250) with 18 multi-hit games, tops on the team. The Scrappers resume regular play Wednesday against the Jamestown Jammers at Eastwood Field at 7:05 p.m. Also making the trip to the all-star game will be general manager Dave Smith and Jim Riley of the public relations staff. sullivan@vindy.com




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