By Steve Ruman
In recent days, a clutch hit here or there could have made the difference between a win and a loss for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In a three-game series against Batavia, the Scrappers stranded numerous base runners in games which were lost 3-1, 2-1 and 5-3.
Monday night against the Williamsport Crosscutters, there was no suspense. The Crosscutters scored single runs in the first and second innings, and by the time they put a three-spot on the board in the fourth there was a sense the game was out of reach.
The end result was a Williamsport 8-1 win at Eastwood Field in front of a season-low 1,761 fans.
The loss was the Scrappers’ fourth straight. They have lost nine of their last 12 and fall to 8-16.
Williamsport (13-11) had 15 base hits. Drew Stankiewicz went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Rhys Hoskins and Derek Campbell both went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Hoskins had a RBI and scored three runs.
Scrappers starter Juan Santana was roughed up for five runs on nine hits in five innings of work, dropping his record to 0-4.
“This is the way baseball is sometimes; there are times when you’re hot as a team and other times when you’re struggling,” said Scrappers outfielder Greg Allen. “Sometimes it’s tough to figure out, but we have to dig ourselves out of this rut.”
Allen has been a recent bright spot for an otherwise struggling offense. Against the Crosscutters, the leadoff hitter was 2-for-2 and reached base four times. Over the past two games he is 4-for-5 while reaching base in seven of his eight plate appearances while stealing three bases.
“The general job of a leadoff hitter is to get on base and find ways to get in position to score runs,” Allen said. “I’ve been fortunate and blessed to get on the past couple of games, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Before this, I was 0-for-9 and struggling to get on base.
“Sometimes you get on streaks like this and you just try and remained focused and hope it continues.”
The Scrappers’ lone run came in the seventh when a Drake Roberts groundout scored Taylor Murphy.
The trio of Derek Campbell, Rhys Hoskins and Drew Stankiewicz were a combined 11-of-13 with five RBIs to lead Williamsport.
IN THE DOGHOUSE
The Scrappers are hitting just .207 at Eastwood Field.
BARK OF THE NIGHT
“The Scrappers now have more strikeouts tonight than they have wins this season.” Scrappers scoreboard operator Scott Hansen, following the Scrappers’ ninth strikeout.
KIBBLES AND BITS
The Indians’ first-round pick (37th overall pick) Mike Papi reported to Mahoning Valley on Monday and will be in uniform today. ... Scrappers right-handed relief pitcher Justin Garcia was promoted to Lake County. ... Ramon Rodriguez was promoted from the Arizona Rookie League to Mahoning Valley. ... The Scrappers are 3-10 at home, and 5-6 on the road.