Scrappers again rally to earn 16th win
By STEVE RUMAN
On paper, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ fast start somewhat defies logic.
The team’s earned run average of 3.62 ranks in the middle of the pack in the New York-Penn League. Their 27 errors are above the league average.
While the Scrappers (16-7) do own the league’s best team batting average (.265), the starting lineup has been top-heavy. In Monday’s 6-3 victory Williamsport, the bottom five of the order owned a combined average of .215.
And, the Scrappers haven’t made things easy on themselves, even in victory. They have had to rally from behind in 10 of their 16 wins.
Despite their faults, the Scrappers continue set the pace in the New York-Penn League. The Scrappers logged yet another come-from-behind win in front of 2,394 fans at Eastwood Field.
Even some pre-game bad luck couldn’t bring down the team which has had the best record in the NYPL since opening day.
Third baseman Henry Pujols, who committed five errors over the weekend, was sent behind home plate prior to the game to catch the pre-game ceremonial First Pitch, thrown by a young fan.
As Pujols reached to his left to field for the errant throw, he injured his left ankle and was assisted off the field by a team trainer.
Things didn’t get much better once the game started. Williamsport sent seven men to the plate in the first inning, scoring two runs on four hits off Scrappers starter Cameron Mingo (5.56 ERA).
The Scrappers got back one of the runs in the bottom of the first with a Mitch Reeves double that plated Jose Fermin.
“[Williamsport] had all the momentum right out of the gate, so it was pretty important to take some of that away,” Reeves said. “You just want to chip away.
”We call it keeping the line moving, getting on any way you can, always giving the next guy up a chance,” Reeves said. “It’s been apparent since day one that this team is resilient.
“We’re always going to battle until the last out. It is really tough playing from behind, but at the same time we just go about our business regardless of the score.”
Williamsport regained its two-run advantage in the third when Ben Pelletier belted his first home run of the season.
The Scrappers then stirred up their comeback magic with a four-run sixth inning.
The big blow of the inning was a three-run homer belted over the center-field wall off the bat of Hosea Nelson.
A Simeon Lucas double scored Clark Scolamiero for a 5-3 advantage.
“You know, this team just keeps doing whatever it takes to win games,” Nelson said. “There are no egos on this team. Everyone has your back.
“A guy can go 0-for-4 and he’s not moping around the locker room,” Nelson said. “He’s feeling good about the team and he’s acknowledging the teammate that had a good night at the plate.
“That’s what makes this team pretty unique. We’re all in it in a battle to move up to the next level, but on that field and in the locker room we’re a really tight group that plays as a team and plays to win.”
The Scrappers are off today and will travel to Staten Island where they will begin a three-game series against the Yankees on Wednesday.