Scrappers beat rain, Cyclones
By Dan Hiner
There wasn’t much action at Eastwood Field in the Scrappers’ 1-0 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones on Tuesday night.
But Henry Pujols made two hustle plays to grab the lead prior to the game being called due to rain in the sixth inning.
Pujols scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the third after reaching second base on a one-out infield single and a throwing error by Brooklyn third baseman Chandler Avant.
Jose Fermin drove in Pujols with an infield single two batters later.
“At the time we didn’t know it was going to be the winning run, obviously,” Scrappers manager Jim Pankovits said.
In the fourth, Pujols made a diving stop at third base with the go-ahead run at third base. Mitch Reeves caught Pujols’ one-hop throw at first to end the inning.
Pujols entered the game with a .167 batting average and has committed a team-high nine errors in 23 games.
“When you’re struggling, there’s a lot of other ways you can contribute,” Pankovits said. “Defense is one and running hard on the bases is another.”
Pankovits said players are expected to demonstrate the hustle Pujols showed on Tuesday whenever they’re playing. He said effort is the best way to stay on the field when players are in a slump.
“Even without good speed, you can be a good base runner and help the team,” Pankovits said.
The game was delayed when rain quickly moved over Eastwood Field and the grounds crew rolled out the tarp. The game was eventually called after a 45-minute delay.
The win is official since the game was called after the fifth inning. Pankovits said everyone was aware there was potential bad weather entering the area.
Scrappers starter Zach Draper was warming up when the umpires called the Scrappers (23-12) off the field.
The left-hander won his second consecutive start after dropping three straight. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five in five innings.
Brooklyn (20-17) had opportunities to score in the second and third innings. The Cyclones stranded the potential tying run at third in both innings.
“I think it helps that [Brooklyn] hadn’t seen him before, and we obviously hadn’t seen them,” Pankovits said. “I think the pitcher has the advantage in that situation.
“I thought [Draper] did a good job with men on — making some big pitches when he had to. That was good to see.”
Brooklyn starter Christian James allowed one run on five hits and no walks. He struck out three in 4 1/3 innings before the team trainer escorted him off the field.
Tyler Freeman, Clark Scolamiero and Simeon Lucas also had singles for the Scrappers.
The Scrappers won their fourth straight and seventh of their last eight following a road trip against Pinckney League rivals Batavia and Auburn.
“Any time we’re playing one of the other division teams we know we’re gonna have our hands full,” Pankovits said. “We’ll have our hands full these next two games with Brooklyn.
“They’re a solid club, we always have a good club and we’ll try to win tomorrow to win the series.”