By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
Mahoning Valley’s new shortstop Nick Bartolone was in the on deck circle hoping for a chance to get to the plate in the Scrappers’ ninth inning rally against the Batavia Muckdogs.
The Scrappers had battled back from a 7-0 deficit in the fifth inning to pull to within 7-5 and had the bases loaded with two outs against Batavia closer Keith Butler.
“I definitely wanted a chance there,” said Bartolone, 19, a sixth-round draft pick in June’s Free Agent draft. “I was seeing the ball really well [with two hits in the game] and that’s every player’s hope is to step up and do something to help your team win a game.”
Bartolone didn’t get the chance as Butler struck out Carlos Moncrief with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
The Scrappers trailed 7-4 to start the inning when Chase Burnette popped out to short. Catcher Diego Seastrunk then lined his fourth hit of the game before a strikeout by Kevin Rucker had Mahoning Valley down to its last out.
Kevin Fontenez walked and Tyler Cannon brought Seastrunk home with a single. Pinch-hitter Brian Heere singled to load the bases before Butler got Moncrief to end the game.
“We fought to get back in it,” said Scrappers’ manager Travis Fryman. “Our hitters did a nice job but the way I look at it is they played nine innings and we only played eight.”
The Scrappers’ Michael Goodnight, in only his second start of the season, struggled after pitching two good innings and couldn’t get out of the third inning until Batavia had scored six runs to open up a 6-0 lead.
Goodnight was a 13th round draft pick in the June Free Agent draft out of the University of Houston and recently joined the team.
Batavia strung together six hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly in the inning off Goodnight and reliever Gregorio Rosario.
Yunier Castillo opened the inning with a single and advanced to second on a walk to Chris Edmonson. Joey Bergman drove in one run with a single and Nick Longmire plated another with a double. Adam Melker’s sacrifice fly brought home the third run and Geoff Klein’s double scored two more. Batavia scored its final run of the inning on a passed ball.
After the Muckdogs opened up a 7-0 lead with a run in the fifth inning, the Scrappers rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Chase Burnette led off the inning and extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double. Burnette scored on a double by Seastrunk and Rucker drove him home with an RBI single.
Rucker later scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Moncrief.
The Scrappers cut the Muckdogs lead to 7-4 with a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Bartolone.
“I’m starting to get comfortable here,” said Bartolone, who was drafted out of high school in San Ramon, Calif. “The travel has been the biggest adjustment but I feel like I’m learning so much playing at this level with older guys.”
The Scrappers relief corps did well, pitching 61/3 innings without giving up a run and striking out 10 Muckdog batters.
“Our relievers have been up and down this year,” said Fryman. “We have some very bad outings but tonight they were very good.”