By Tim Cleveland
Up to this point in the season, one of the strengths for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers has been their pitching.
Thursday night against the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Scrappers’ pitching fizzled out like defective fireworks, as Williamsport pounded out 13 hits in an 11-6 victory before 6,576 fans, the ninth-largest crowd in Eastwood Field history.
Scrappers starter Rob Whitenack was roughed up but also was the victim of some bad defense. He allowed seven runs (three earned) on nine hits in four innings. Mahoning Valley committed four errors behind him.
“We didn’t hit. We didn’t do anything until the seventh,” Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak said. “What can you say? Whitenack needed to get his pitches, he needed to throw his innings, he needed to get his work in. He wasn’t going to come out until we got close to what he was supposed to throw.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t look like he was able to pinpoint too well. We had some errors that probably cost us maybe five runs, at least. Combination of things and you wind up with a loss.”
One of the few bright spots for Mahoning Valley was Cody Ferrell. The 23-year-old undrafted free agent hit an inside-the-park home run in the third to get the Scrappers on the board. He reached base three times in five plate appearances. He was assigned to Mahoning Valley on July 1 and has gone 5 for 12 since.
On a 2-and-2 count, Ferrell drove a ball deep to left. Williamsport’s Samuel Hiciano leaped in an attempt to catch the ball. He crashed into the base of the left-field wall and dropped the ball, allowing Ferrell to round the bases for the homer.
“I’m just trying to stay focused and play to the best of my ability, stay within myself and help the team win,” Ferrell said. “[The season’s] going pretty good so far. I like where I’m at. I’ve still got a lot to work on. I’ve got to get my swing going a little bit better.”
Trailing 9-1 in the eighth, the Scrappers made things a bit more respectable by scoring four runs. Mahoning Valley (7-11) added a run in the ninth on a solo homer by Juan Romero, his third of the season.
CROSSCUTTERS 11, SCRAPPERS 6
Martinez cf4121Ferrell cf3211
Tromp cf2001Bautista 2b5111
Pullin 2b6142Herrera ss4100
Cozens rf4112Rdriguez 1b4000
Green 3b4110Roberts dh3122
Lino c5110McAdams lf2000
Pierce 1b5122Ruiz lf1000
Hiciano lf3200Garcia 3b2010
Canelo ss4210Cervenka c4000
Parr dh5121Romero rf4111
E—Green, Garcia, Herrera, Bautista. DP—Williamsport 1. LOB—Williamsport 9, Scrappers 6. 2B—Parr, Green, Bautista. 3B—Pullin, Par. HR—Cozens, Pierce, Ferrell, Romero. PO—Ferrell. SB—Martinez.
Nichols W, 1-0210002
Whitenack L, 1-24107421
WP—M. Martinez, Whitenack. HBP—by Reyes (Ferrell). Umpires: Home, Erich Bacchus; Bases, George Reidel. T—2:45. A—6,576.