Mahoning Valley still trails Auburn by three games in the Pickney Division.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
NILES -- Staying alive. That is what the Mahoning Valley Scrappers were busy doing Friday night at Eastwood Field, but it wasn't easy as they saw a 6-0 evaporate into some anxious moments in the late innings.
Needing to win virtually every one of their games for the rest of the season to make the New York-Penn league playoffs, the Scrappers made it two in a row as they defeated the Williamsport Crosscutters, 6-5, before 4,518 fans at Eastwood Field.
"I guess we made it a little more difficult than it was going to be, but that is part of the game," said Scrappers manager Rouglas Odor. "It was a strange win, but we won the game, and right now, that is what we need."
Taking the lead
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Scrappers gave themselves a seemingly comfortable lead as they sent 10 men to the plate and came away with six runs in the third inning. Big hits were a RBI double by Jason Denham, a two-run single by Dustin Realini and a two-run homer by Josh Rodriguez.
"He [Williamsport pitcher Henry Cabrera] just made a mistake to me and I took advantage of it," said Rodriguez. "He was locating his changeup pretty well and had a lot of us off balance so I was going up there looking for a changeup and I got one. He just left it up in the strike zone and I didn't miss it."
Cruising along through the first five-plus innings, Luis Valdez ran into some problems in the sixth as the Crosscutters scored a pair of runs to cut Mahoning Valley's lead to 6-2. Big hits for Williamsportwere a double by Alex Presley and a RBI infield single by Alexander Peralta.
"He [Valdez] wasn't as sharp as he has been in some of his past outings," said Odor, "but he kept competing and trying to make pitches even though he was working behind some hitters.
"You are not always going to be at your best, but you still have to go out there and compete and that is what he did tonight."
Still trailing by four runs, the Crosscutters made things interesting down the stretch as they scored three more runs in the seventh and had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth.
But Scrappers closer Neil Wagner slammed the door shut by striking out Alex Presley and pinch-hitter Daniel Rios.
"Hart [Hering] came in and did a solid job of keeping us in the game and [Neil] Wagner did as well," said Odor.
Coming off his poorest outing of the season in a recent loss to Auburn, Wagner rebounded to pick up his 15th save of the season.
"I had a bad outing the last time, but that is going to happen," said Wagner. "If you are a relief pitcher and pitching late in the ball game, getting outs is number one.
"The big thing that is going to separate you and move you up levels is putting both the good and bad outings behind you and come to work the next day."
Valdez picked up the win for the Scrappers while Henry Cabrera (5-3) was tagged with the loss for Williamsport.
Laboy lf3110Davis 2b2110
Gonzalez ss5120Lytle 1b3110
Byler dh2210Denham dh4111
Presley cf4121Realini 3b3112
Sakamoto 1b4000Rodriguez ss4122
Rios ph1000Douglas cf3110
Peralta 3b4031Cmbrbtch rf4010
Picart 2b4010Roberts lf4010
Watts c2000Edmundson c4000
E--Peralta 2 (10), Gonzalez (25), Realini (5), Lytle (9). DP--Williamsport 2, Scrappers 4. LOB--Williamsport 9, Scrappers 6. 2B--Presley (6), Denham (9). HR--Rodriguez (2). SB--Laboy (8). S--Lytle, Douglas.
Cabrera L, 5-32 1-366413
Valdez W, 7-45 2-352154
Wagner S, 15120002
WP--Valdez. HBP--by Cabrera (Davis). Umpires--Home, Patrick Barbour; First, Jon Saphire. T--2:37. A--4,518.
HOW THEY SCORED
Scrappers 3rd -- Edmundson grounded out (5-3). Davis hit by pitch. Lytle reached on fielding error (E-5), Davis to 2nd. Denham doubled to right field, Davis scored, Lytle to 3rd. Realini singled to left field, Lytle and Denham scored, Realini to 2nd on the throw. Rodriguez homered to left-center field, Realini scored. Douglas singled to third base. Cumberbatch singled to right field, Douglas to 2nd. Roberts reached on throwing error (E-5), Douglas scored, Cumberbatch to 3rd. Pitching change: Suero replaced Cabrera. Edmundson grounded into double play (6-4-3), Roberts out at 2nd. 6 runs, 5 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB
Williamsport 6th -- Gonzalez flied out (F-9). Byler walked. Presley hit ground-rule double to left field, Byler to 3rd. Sakamoto struck out. Peralta singled to third base, Byler and Presley scored, Peralta to 2nd on throwing error (F-5). Pitching change: Frega replaced Valdez. Picart lined out (L-4). 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB
Williamsport 7th -- Poni singled to second base. Durham grounded into double play (6-4-3). Laboy singled to center field. Gonzalez singled to center field, Laboy to 2nd. Byler walked, Laboy to 3rd, Gonzalez to 2nd. Presley singled to first base, Laboy, Gonzalez and Byler scored, Presley to 2nd on throwing error (E-3). Pitching change: Hering replaced Frega. Sakamoto flied out (F-8). 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB