By Steve Ruman
Fans at Eastwood Field were treated to a fireworks show synchronized to the sounds of Bon Jovi after Friday’s game between Brooklyn and Mahoning Valley.
While the postgame pyrotechnics lit up the skies, the Scrappers’ bats continued to give offense a bad name.
The latest shot through the heart was a 4-2 loss in front of 3,604 fans. The setback leaves the Scrappers living on a prayer, as they now fall six games behind the Cyclones in the wildcard race in the New York-Penn League.
The Scrappers (23-31) mustered just seven hits and one earned run on the night. They have scored just 15 runs in their last seven games.
“It’s been a little frustrating, but we’re not down,” said Scrappers right fielder D’Vone McClure. “We’re hitting the ball hard, but they’re just not falling. Things just aren’t going our way.
“I really think that with this team, when we struggle it makes us more hungry. So I think it’s only a matter of time before we bounce back at the plate.”
McClure was the lone bright spot for the Scrappers offense. He went 2 for 3 with a double and also walked
“With my mindset, I always try to look at all the positives,” McClure said. “During any slump, I try to focus on what I’m doing right, and I try to learn from what I’m doing wrong. Everything negative, I try to take some positives out of it.”
Brooklyn scored three runs off Scrappers starter Sean Brady (2-3, 2.34 ERA), who entered the game with the fourth-best ERA in the New York-Penn League.
Brady walked Cyclones leadoff hitter John Mora to start the game. The walk resulted in a run when Jhoan Urena singled with two out to plate the game’s first run.
The Scrappers took a 2-1 lead in the third. Greg Allen doubled to score Yonathan Mendoza. Allen then came around to score on a throwing error by Mora.
Brooklyn immediately answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead for good. With one out, Michael Bernal walked, then advanced to third on an Andrew Abreu single. Both runners scored on a Jeffrey Diehl double to the wall in left-center.
The Cyclones added a run in the seventh when Dimas Ponce scored on a fielding error by Scrappers first baseman Leo Castillo.
The Scrappers, who had won 11 of 16 at one point in July, have now dropped four of six.
McClure, who was drafted in 2012, said he believes some of the Scrappers’ first-year players are suffering from the rigors of professional baseball.
“It’s a grind, the every day grind can take a toll,” McClure said. “The long bus trips and playing every single night is just something that takes some getting used to by some players.”
“I love it, because I love this game. But mentally, it can wear at you.”
The Scrappers begin a three-game home series tonight against Staten Island.