The loss dropped Mahoning Valley 41⁄2 games behind in the division race.
By STEVE RUMAN
NILES — Murphy’s Law appeared to strike Batavia in the third inning of Thursday’s game against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Already trailing 3-1, the Muckdogs lost starting pitcher Phillip Anderson to an injury. Anderson’s replacement, Brian Broderick, threw just two pitches before an injury on a foul tip forced the Muckdogs to replace starting catcher Steve Gonzalez with reserve Paul Vazquez.
Call it Murphy’s Law reversed, or simply call it bad luck for the Scrappers (31-28). However you want to word it, the bottom line is that Broderick and Vazquez helped propel the Muckdogs to a 6-4 win over the Scrappers.
The Scrappers’ loss, combined with an Auburn win, moves them four-and-a-half games behind the Doubledays in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.
Batavia (25-34), winners of five straight, won for just the eighth time in 29 tries on the road.
“It’s tough when you get an early lead, only to let it slip away,” Scrappers manager Tim Laker said. “Once you get ahead of an opponent, you want to keep putting pressure on them. But we’re just not the type of team that will score runs in bunches.”
Broderick (1-0) retired the first eight men he faced while earning his first win of the season. He pitched 31⁄3 innings, surrendering one run on three hits while striking out five.
Vazquez sparked a five-run uprising with a double which put the Muckdogs ahead for good.
After Batavia took the lead in the top of the second on a Charlie Pelt solo home run, the Scrappers answered in the bottom half of the frame with three runs of their own. Justin Jenkins gave the Scrappers a 3-1 lead when he belted his second home run of the season, a blast over the center field fence.
Jenkins’ home run was the first hit by the Scrappers in 26 days.
Following a scoreless fourth, the Muckdogs chased Scrappers starter Mike Eisenberg out of the game with a five-run fifth. Dave Carpenter cut the Scrappers lead to 3-2 with a run-producing double. Two batters later, Vizquez gave the Muckdogs a 4-3 lead with his two-bagger.
“When you have the lead, you’d like to see your pitchers be a little more aggressive on the mound,” Laker said. “As a whole, we haven’t showed that aggressiveness as of late.”
Vizquez later scored on a wild pitch, then Batavia extended its lead to 6-2 on a Mateo Marquez base hit.
Scrappers battle back
The Scrappers would cut their deficit to 6-4 in the sixth. Adam White led off the inning with a line shot to center. When Marquez overran the ball, White ended up with a triple. He then scored on a Matt Thompson single.
On a bright note for Mahoning Valley, reliever Josh Judy shined in his first appearance in a Scrappers uniform. The righty pitched the final three innings, striking out three without giving up a hit.
Judy joined the team Wednesday after spending most of the summer playing for the Gulf Coast Indians.
Judy was a 34th round pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft.
“It was nice to get in a game and take my first step toward getting adapted to the new surroundings,” Judy said. “The hitters in this league are much more aggressive and consistent. I look forward to the new challenge, and I hope that I can do my part in keeping this team in a pennant race.”
Judy then made a comment which might raise the eyebrows of Valley residents who have been sweating out the latest heat wave.
“I love this atmosphere. It’s a nice change because I was used to pitching in the heat all summer long,” Judy said.
Judy noted that in the Gulf Coast League, the Florida sun often lifts temperatures into the mid-90s, with heat indexes well past 100 degrees. Also, the majority of GCL games are played at noon.
The Scrappers and Muckdogs conclude their brief two-game series tonight.
Oeder ss4000White cf4110
Marquez cf5011Thompson ss4011
Descalso 2b5010Infante 3b3000
Brown 3b4120Brown rf4000
Pelt 1b3221Castillo c4120
Carpenter dh3111Petrucci lf4000
Roberson lf4000Nash 1b4110
Gonzalez c1000Jenkins dh3113
Vasquez c2112Hehr 2b3000
DP—Scrappers 3. LOB—Batavia 6, Scrappers 3. 2B—Carpenter (8). 3B—Descalso (5), White (3). HR—Jenkins (2).
Broderick W, 1-03 1-331105
Fiske S, 13 1-300300
Eisenberg L, 3-6496613
WP—Eisenberg. HBP—by Frega (Arencibia) 2. Umpires—Home, Greg Brown; Bases Joey Amaral;. T—2:33. A—3,485.
HOW THEY SCORED
Batavia second — Charlie Pelt homered to left. Dave Carpenter flew out to center. Justin Roberson popped out to first base. Steve Gonzales grounded out 4-3. 1 run, 1 hit 0 errors, 0 LOB
Scrappers second — Matt Brown struck out looking. Alex Castillo singled to right. Nick Petrucci popped out to second. Chris Nash singled to center, Castillo advanced to third, Nash advanced to second on the throw. Justin Jenkins homered to center, Castillo and Nash scored. Jeff Hehr flew out to right. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Batavia fourth — Andrew Brown singled to left. Pelt singled to right, Brown advanced to third. Carpenter doubled to left, Brown scored, Pelt advanced to third. Roberson popped out to first. Vazquez singled to left, Carpenter and Pelt scored. Collin Fanning singled to right, Vazquez advanced to third. Vazquez scored, Fanning advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ross Oeder walked. Mateo Marquez singled up the middle, Fanning scored, Oeder advanced to second. Daniel Descalso hit into a 6-3 double play, Marquez was forced out at second 6-U. 5 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Scrappers sixth — Adam White tripled to center. Mark Thompson singled to center, White scored. Jansy Infante flew out to right. Matt Brown struck out swinging. Thompson stole second. Castillo reached on an infield single, Thompson advanced to third. Petrucci popped out to second. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.
Zeskind lf7232White cf7031
Calderone cf6240Thompson ss6010
Rodriguez 1b5020Martin 1b5020
Santana 1b2110Castillo c5011
Emaus 3b6124Brown rf4111
Arencibia c5000Nash dh5210
Ebarb dh3021Arnal lf5110
E—Mastroianni (8), Arencibia (6), Holt (1), Bunton (1). DP—Auburn 2, Scrappers 2. LOB—Auburn 16, Scrappers 13. 2B—Calderone (11), White 2 (7), Hehr (3). HR—Zeskind (7), Emaus (2). SB—Infante (4), White (20). CS—Mastroianni (8), White (5).
Melek W, 2-1210002
Bunton L, 0-2111120
IBB—by Crowell (Brown), by Rieck (Mastroianni), HBP—by Frega (Arencibia) 2. Umpires—Home, Joey Amaral; Bases, Greg Brown. T—4:21. A—2,266.