Sunday, June 17, 2018
By STEVE RUMAN
Fans who attended all three games this weekend between the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and West Virginia Black Bears may want their money back.
It’s not that the Scrappers didn’t offer up plenty of entertainment. In fact, they provided fans at Eastwood Field with as many thrills as perhaps any three-game series in franchise history.
It’s just that if you saw one game of the series, well, you pretty much saw them all.
In all three games, the Scrappers gave up a first inning run, they trailed 3-1 and they ended up rallying to win while scoring at least nine runs.
Sunday, the Scrappers offense displayed patience (six walks), discipline (three runs scored on sacrifices), power (three home runs) and clutch hitting (a walk-off base hit) en route to a wild 10-9 win over the Black Bears in front of 1,860 fans.
The Scrappers are 3-0 for the first time since 2009, when they started the season with five straight wins.
Mitch Reeves, who homered on Saturday, was the hitting star once again. The Scrappers designated hitter went 4-for-4 with a walk.
He homered and doubled, but it was his single in the bottom of the ninth which proved to be the game-winner.
Reeves laced a base hit to left field, scoring Clark Scolamiero, who opened the inning with a walk, then stole second base.
“Pretty crazy, I’ll just chalk it up to one of those days where I was seeing the ball well and getting good counts,” Reeves said. “That’s all baseball is, really.”
Reeves is hitting .462 on the young season, and leads the Scrappers in home runs (2) and RBI (6).
Like the previous two games, West Virginia took a quick 1-0 lead with a first-inning run. The Black Bears strung together three singles, with Brett Kinneman’s base hit resulting in an RBI.
The Scrappers tied the game in the bottom of the first on a Reeves RBI single. Then the Black Bears took a 3-1 lead with single runs in the third and the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Scrappers did a little bit of everything — and a lot of looking at misguided pitches — to take a 6-3 lead.
West Virginia reliever Shea Murray entered the game in bottom of the fifth, threw just 12 pitches and exited the game with the bases loaded via three straight walks.
All three base runners moved up via a wild pitch, then Gabriel Mejia and Tyler Freeman each cleared the bases with a sacrifice groundout and sacrifice fly ball, respectively.
Scolamiero followed with a double, then Reeves blasted a home run to right field.
Henry Pujols and Simeon Lucas would also provide home runs for the Scrappers, but West Virginia fought back to tie the game at 9-9 with a four-run eighth, setting up Reeves’ heroics.
“Going up there [in the ninth] with the game winning run at second, I’m looking to drive him in at that point rather than moving him to third,” Reeves said. “When the count went to 3-2, I was just looking for one pitch.
“I got what I was looking for.”
Understandably, Reeves said he and his teammates are enjoying their hot start.
“To come out and sweep a divisional opponent, that gives us a lot of momentum,” Reeves said. “At this level, it’s hard not to have the mindset of playing your own game, trying to develop yourself into a better player.
“But when you have a team where everyone is chipping in and contributing, it’s hard not to think about winning as a team first.”
The Scrappers begin their first road trip tonight with the start of a three-game series at State College.