“It’s early. We have plenty of time and plenty of patience.” David Wallace, Scrappers manager
SCRAPPERS - (1) Tony Wolters of the Scrappers goes in to second hard to break up the double play as (14) Cesar Valera can't make the play Monday night at Eastwood Field. - Special to The Vindicator/Nick Mays
By Jim Flick
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers got off to a fast start Monday night against visiting Batavia, but the early lead didn’t last. The Muckdogs struck back quickly and often, winning 10-7.
The Scrappers committed six errors in the New York-Penn League game, which offset the fact that Mahoning Valley outhit Batavia 13-11.
Despite the errors, the game was within the Scrappers’ reach until the very end, said manager David Wallace.
“The bottom line is that we still had a chance to win, even with those errors,” he said.
Wallace added that his young team “doesn’t quit, and I care about that more than the wins or losses.
“It’s early. We have plenty of time and plenty of patience.”
Batavia had hit no home runs coming into the game, but blasted three roundtrippers against the Scrappers. Bryson Myles smacked the first home run of the season for Mahoning Valley, while designated hitter Alex Lavisky led the Scrappers’ offense by driving in a pair of runs.
Mahoning Valley’s first two batters of the game reached base. Leadoff hitter Cody Elliot blooped a fly just past first base that eluded Batavia fielders for a double. Shortstop Tony Wolters followed with a single to left.
Catcher Jake Lowery drove home the first run of the game, and his fifth RBI of the season, with an infield grounder to give the Scrappers a 1-0 first inning lead.
But Batavia tied the score 1-1 in the top of the second. With two outs, Mahoning Valley starting pitcher Rob Nixon (0-1) walked two Muckdogs. Left fielder Virgil Hill singled to left to drive in the tying run.
The Muckdogs grabbed the lead in the third when right fielder Romulo Ruiz tripled and came home on a passed ball.
Batavia scored four runs in the fourth to boost their lead to 6-1. Muckdog Kevin Moscatel blasted a home run to the left. With two outs, designated hitter Mike O’Neill and second baseman Jeremy Patton smacked consecutive doubles to boost Batavia’s lead to 4-1. After a walk and a single, center fielder Nick Martini stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and slapped a single that brought home two more runs.
Mahoning Valley added a run in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the lead to 6-2. Left fielder Aaron Siliga singled, then reached home when Batavia committed an error on an infield grounder by third baseman Kevin Fontanez.
Myles home run in the fifth to cut the Scrappers’ deficit to 6-3.
But Batavia struck back in the top of the fifth, when shortstop Cesar Valera smacked a home run over the fence in left, giving the Muckdogs a 7-3 lead.
The lead grew when Batavia right fielder Roberto Reyes reached base on an error. Two more Scrappers errors brought Reyes home, giving the Muckdogs an 8-3 lead.
First baseman David Medina blasted another home run for the Muckdogs in the sixth inning, and Batavia lead to 9-3.
But the Scrappers weren’t finished. In the bottom of the seventh, Wolters and Lowery both singled, and Lavisky doubled to drive in both runners, cutting the Scrappers’ deficit to 9-5.
Reyes singled home another run in the eighth to put the Muckdogs’ run total in double figures, giving them a 10-5 lead.
Aaron Siliga and KC Serna both walked to start the Scrappers’ eighth inning. Siliga came home on an infield single by Elliot, and Wolters’ sacrifice fly plated Serna to cut Batavia’s lead to 10-7.
Nixon lasted 32/3 innings, giving up six runs, including five earned runs, and walking four. For Batavia, starter Jose Almarante (1-0) lasted five innings and gave up three runs, including two earned runs, while striking out three.