NILES — With Mahoning Valley’s Mike Eisenberg and Jamestown pitcher Marc Lewis locked in a good old-fashioned pitchers’ dual, fans looking for offense might have been disappointed for the first six innings of Thursday’s New York-Penn League contest.
But once both teams went to their respective bullpens in the middle and late innings, that’s when things picked up.
After mustering just three hits — including a bunt single and an infield hit — in the first seven innings, the Scrappers used four hits, two of which left the yard, to put up six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and rally to beat Jamestown 6-1 at Eastwood Field.
Todd Martin, last week’s NYPL offensive player of the week, delivered the big blow of the contest, a three-run blast to right field. That shot off reliever Garrett Parcell gave Mahoning Valley a 3-1 advantage.
“A home run didn’t even cross my mind,” said Martin, who now leads the NYPL in homers with four. “I was looking for a pitch I could drive into the gap and get us one run home. Fortunately, he hung a curve ball down and in and I went with it.
“We were just hitting the ball and had nothing to show for it. But that’s baseball. We didn’t give up and kept pressing and doing what we needed to do. We were able to come through when we needed to at the end.”
Eisenberg has strong effort
After 52⁄3 strong innings from Eisenberg, Mahoning Valley dipped into the pen in the top of seventh as Daniel Morales relieved the starter. It didn’t take long for that move to backfire as leadoff hitter Thomas Hickman drilled a solo homer to right field, giving the Jammers a 1-0 lead.
But after hitting a batter and giving up a stolen base, Morales recovered to get out of the sixth inning with only a one-run deficit.
The Scrappers threatened for the first time in the bottom of the sixth. After two quick outs, Alex Castillo and Martin coaxed back-to-back walks against Lewis. It was the first time the Scrappers had a runner past first base in the contest.
With runs hard to come by for both teams, Jamestown manager Darin Everson went to the bullpen, bringing in Parcell. The right-hander thwarted the Scrappers’ rally, forcing Matt Brown to fly out to left to end the inning.
But with Parcell still on the mound in the home half of the eighth, Juan Valdes started a rally with a single. Jansy Infante was safe at first on a sacrifice bunt, as the throw went to second. Valdes was called safe as well, giving the Scrappers two runners with no outs.
Martin hits three-run homer
After a Mahoning Valley strikeout, Martin delivered the home run to shift the game’s momentum. Matt Brown followed with a double and later scored on a throwing error to make it 4-1.
First baseman Nick Petrucci added a two-run shot to complete the big inning and build a 6-1 lead.
Mahoning Valley reliever Kyle Landis made things interesting in the ninth, loading the bases with one out before striking out the side to preserve the Scrappers’ second straight victory and eighth this season (8-9).
Despite surrendering a homer, Morales picked up the first win of his pro career. Parcell, who allowed four runs in 12⁄3 innings, was pinned with the loss.
“You have to give that first pitcher credit because he’s one of the best arms we’ve seen this year so far,” said Scrappers manager Tim Laker. “He did a good job of keeping the ball down. It wasn’t so much that we weren’t hitting, but more that he was pitching well.
“He shut us down for five innings, but then he gave us a couple walks and got a little tired. We were able to stay in a close one-run game with good pitching and good defense. In the eighth, we got a few guys on, then had the heart of our lineup up there with the game on the line which is a nice spot to be in.”
The Scrappers have now won two in a row, after dropping five straight before this homestand. Despite the early-season struggles, Laker isn’t concerned with his squad.
“These guys are just getting used to playing pro ball,” Laker said. “They’ve been playing the game hard every night and the effort is there. We’ve had chances to win games lately, but just didn’t get it done. It’s nice to get a comeback win like tonight. We just have to stay with the fundamentals and not give runs away.”
Curry 2b4030Valdes cf4120
Kaats cf5000Infante 3b-2b3100Peterson rf5000Castillo c3000
Langley 3b4010Martin dh3113
Anetsberger 3b3010Brown rf4110
Jacobs lf4010Alvarado lf4020
Hickman dh4111Hehr 2b0000
Lasater 1b4010Arnal 3b2100
Martinez ss3020Petrucci 1b3112
E—Curry (2). LOB—Jamestown 11, Scrappers 6. 2B—Curry (4), Lasater (6), Brown (6). HR—Hickman (1), Martin (4), Petrucci (1). SB—Martinez (1), Arnal (2). CS—Alvarado (1).
Parcell, L 0-11 2-343303
Morales, W 1-0231100
WP—Eisenberg, Morales. HBP—by Eisenberg (Anetsberger), by Morales (Martinez). Umpires—Home, Matt Neuhold; Bases, Shea Gipson. T—2:28. A—4,301.
HOW THEY SCORED
Jammers 7th — Pitching change: Morales replaces Eisenberg. Hickman homers to right. Lasater grounds out (4-3). Martinez hit by pitch. With Curry batting, Martinez steals 2nd. Curry flies out (F-7). Kaats flies out (F-8). 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Scrappers 8th — Valdes singles to 1st. Infante bunt single, Valdes to 2nd. Castillo strikes out swinging. Martin homers to right, Valdes scores, Infante scores. Brown doubles to right. Pitching change: Cishek replaces Parcell. Alvarado pops out (F-1). Arnal reaches on throwing error (E-6), Brown scores, Arnal to 2nd. With Petrucci batting, Arnal steals 3rd. Petrucci homers to left, Arnal scores. Thompson flies out (F-9). 6 runs, 5 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB.