Scrappers finally break through
By Steve Ruman
The good news is that the Mahoning Valley Scrappers finally pushed a run across the plate.
The better news?
The Jamestown Jammers appeared so frazzled by the occurrence, they proceeded to melt down in epic fashion.
As a result, the Scrappers picked up their first win of the season, a bizarre 7-6 victory over the Jammers in front of 3,088 home fans.
Just how strange was Tuesday’s New York-Penn League battle?
“Well, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak. “I’ve seen a lot of baseball, but I can’t say I’ve seen anything like what happened tonight.”
That’s saying a lot, considering Kubiak has been in professional baseball for nearly half a century.
About the inaugural run:
The Scrappers crossed the plate for the first time this season in the fifth inning. It occurred when Juan Robel laced a one-out double to left, then scored on a two-out base hit Claudio Bautista.
The run ended a 22-inning drought to start the season. Dating back to last year, the scoreless streak extended 37 innings — all against the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate.
At the time, the run appeared insignificant. Following a scoreless three innings, the Jammers erupted for six runs in the fourth off Scrappers starter Rob Whitenack. The right-hander surrendered five hits (two doubles), walked a pair and threw a wild pitch in the inning.
Whitenack was picked up by the Cleveland Indians on waivers from the Chicago Cubs this spring. He was making his Scrappers debut after struggling in three outings at Akron.
Trailing 6-1 in the sixth, the Scrappers scored their second run of the game without having to swing the bat.
After Josh McAdams grounded out to start the inning, Jammers reliever David Jagoditsh plunked four consecutive Scrappers batter on four straight pitches.
Scrappers first baseman Nick Hamilton, making his first start of the season, took the fourth pitch off his helmet to force in the run.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that before, where I went up there after three straight batters got hit,” Hamilton said. “I wasn’t thinking about the pitcher’s wildness. I was just looking for a good pitch to hit, and I didn’t even have time to really think of anything more.”
Jamestown’s wildness continued the rest of the night.
The Scrappers led off the botton of the seventh with back-to-back walks. Both runners scored on a triple by Robel Garcia to cut the deficit to 6-4. Garcia then scored on a throwing error by Jammers third baseman Beau Wallace.
The Scrappers tied the game in the eighth, again, without the benefit of a base hit. An error, a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases, then Juan Herrera walked to tie the game at 6.
In the bottom of the ninth, two walks and an error loaded the bases. Then, in appropriate fashion, Romero walked, pushing the winning run across the plate.
“I’m no math major, but I looked up at the scoreboard and saw all those runs and realized the two teams had more runs than hits (12),” Hamilton said. “That’s unusual in a high-scoring game.
“This was a weird night.”
Afterward, Kubiak admitted that he was searching for a way to lift the spirit of his team, which he expected to be 0-3 at night’s end.
“I was out there getting my post-game pep talk ready, thinking about how I would tell these guys to keep their heads up,” Kubiak said. “I never had to make that speech.”
The Scrappers make play their first road game of the year tonight at Batavia.