By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- After their performance Sunday at Eastwood Field, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers may want to play more day games.
The Scrappers (11-9) pounded the Oneonta Tigers, 9-1, while ripping out 17 hits behind some spectacular pitching performances in the New York-Penn League game.
"When you do everything as well as we did it today, you're going to win games," Scrappers manager Rouglas Odor said. "We had great pitching, good and timely hitting and played excellent defense."
Scrappers starting pitcher Kevin Dixon was in a zone through the first five innings. He allowed just four hits, didn't strike out a batter, but also didn't issue a walk as the Scrappers jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
The amazing part of Dixon's performance was his pitch count. He threw only 34 pitches in the five innings, 24 for strikes, and twice retired the Tigers on four pitches in the third and fourth innings.
"That has to be some sort of record," Odor said. "At least in this league."
Dixon, a 2005 draft pick out of Minnesota State, was said to be a strikeout pitcher in college.
"I don't know about that," he said. "Our game play today was to try and keep the ball in the strike zone and get the quick, easy outs, and it worked."
Dixon, who picked up his first professional victory, said it also helped that his teammates backed him up with great offense.
"After that five-run third inning it was a whole lot easier out there on the mound," Dixon said.
The Scrappers had three players with three hits apiece, sparked by catcher Omar Casillas, who was on base four times and scored four times. Andy Lytle and Trevor Mortensen also added three hits apiece while Julio Garcia had a three-run double in the big third inning.
The Scrappers played a night game on Saturday, but Sunday's early start didn't bother them.
"It doesn't matter whether you are playing a day game or a night game, you have to come ready to play and today we were ready to play," Odor said.
The Scrappers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on three singles, the third an RBI hit by Mortensen.
In the third inning, the Scrappers sent nine batters to the plate. They pounded out five hits with Stephen Head driving in a pair with a double to left and Garcia ripping a double down the left field line with the bases loaded to drive in three more.
Mahoning Valley added two runs in the fifth on two hits, one an RBI single by Jose Constanza.
The final run came in the sixth when they had three more hits, the final one by Mortensen to drive in the run.
Finishing it off
Shea Douglas pitched the sixth and seventh innings for the Scrappers and retired the Tigers in order both innings.
Justin Pekarek came on in the eighth and had an unexpected start. On his first eight pitches, the Tigers produced a triple and three singles to break the shutout.
Pekarek's next 11 pitches were all strikes as he struck out the side. This happened after a talk with Scrappers pitching coach Tony Arnold.
"Sometimes with a big lead you get a little careless out there and Tony is good at spotting these things and went out to talk to him," Odor said.
Pekarek came back in the ninth and allowed the first two runners aboard, one on the game's only error. But he settled down to strike out the next two and retired the final batter on a come-back grounder to the mound.
"Even our one error was a great play," Odor said. "Stephen [Head] made a great play just getting to the ball and had to throw from the ground. It was an error, but it was still a tremendous effort on his part."
The Scrappers and Tigers (13-5) will conclude their series tonight in a 7:05 start at Eastwood Field. After a day off Tuesday, the Scrappers take to the road for three games against Tri-City.
Haske 2b/3b4010Constanza cf5011
Holliman ss3010Clem ss2011
Thomas cf4010Fornasiere ss3120
Middleton 3b3000Brown lf3110
Patino 2b1000Clark ph/lf1010
Joyce rf4010Head 1b4112
Mebdez 1b4010Peterson 3b5000
Timm lf4120Casillas c3430
Grullon dh4011Reifenberger c1000
Williamson c4010Lytle dh5130
E--Head; DP--Tigers 2, Scrappers 2; LOB--Tigers 8, Scrappers 13; 2B--Thomas,Head, Casillas, Garcia; 3B--Timm; SB--Mortgensen.
Badenhop (L 1-1)2.186623
Dixon (W 1-0) 540000
Umpires--HP-Andrew Russell; 1B-Chris Hamner; T--2:36; A--3,003.
Rhymes 2b4101Constanza cf5110
Holliman ss3221Clem 2b4010
Thomas cf5121Fornasiere ss5121
Joyce rf5000Head 1b3111
Middleton 3b5023Peterson 3b3011
Mendez 1b5000Clark dh4000
Timm lf3110Woodson c4000
Haske dh4221Cumbrbtch rf2000
Roa c3010Brown ph/rf2010
E--Cumberbatch; DP--Scrappers 1; LOB-- Tigers 5, Scrappers 6; 2B--Holliman, Timm, Haske, Fornasiere 2, Peterson; HR--Head; SH--Clem; SF--Holliman; SB--Rhymes.
Hahn (W 2-0)200100
Hiraldo (L 1-1)0.023310
HBP--By Jecmen (Timm); Balk--Hiraldo; Umpires: HP-Chris Hamner; 1b-Andrew Russell; T--2:47; A--3,568.