Scrappers fall in ninth, get swept by Keys
NILES — In the first two games of a three-game series between Frederick and Mahoning Valley, wildness by Scrappers pitchers led to a pair of Keys wins.
On Wednesday at Eastwood Field, Frederick tried its best to return the favor. Through the first five innings of the series finale, Keys pitchers issued six walks, threw four wild pitches (including two that resulted in runs) and hit a batter.
The Scrappers built a 6-3 lead, but it still wasn’t enough,
The Keys rallied to score four runs in the final four innings, downing the Scrappers 7-6 and earning the three-game sweep.
The Keys lift their record to 7-5, while the Scrappers fall to 5-7.
With the game tied at 6-6, Frederick scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth. Jevin Relaford was hit by a pitch with one out, he advanced to second on a stolen base and scored on a Kendley Maduro double.
Maduro finished the night with three hits, two runs and a pair of RBIs. He hit a single, double and triple.
Colton Coates again led the Scrappers’ offense with a pair of base hits – including a double – and three RBIs. Coates is batting a team-high .400 and has a team-high nine RBIs.
Following a day off today, the Scrappers return to Eastwood Field Friday when they begin a three-game series against Williamsport.
LIVING A DREAM
For the vast majority of players, the road to the MLB Draft League begins either in high school or college.
For Kasumba Dennis, the path to the league originated on YouTube and social media by way of his home in Uganda.
Dennis is an 18-year-old catcher who plays for Frederick. His introduction to baseball began when he was eight years old, but he quickly gave up the sport so that he could work in a slaughterhouse in order to support himself and his grandmother. His mother abandoned him as an infant along with two siblings after their father, a soldier, died fighting anti-government rebels.
At 14, Dennis returned to the game at the urging of a local coach.
Dennis immediately fell in love with the game and became passionate about becoming a better player.
“In Uganda, sports like football (soccer) and basketball are popular. Not baseball,” Dennis said. “But I wanted to play baseball because it is a difficult game and I like a challenge. I like to catch and I like to throw, throw, throw.”
Dennis turned to social media to share videos of his grueling and unorthodox workouts, which include catching with a tire tied to his back and with a brick tied to his glove. In one video he is working with makeshift weights and throwing rocks in a driving rain. The workout takes place in a muddy field which Dennis describes as his “baseball pitch.”
The videos also displayed Dennis’ intense desire to excel at the game. His pinned post on Twitter is a video of him practicing his techniques of blocking pitches in the dirt with a weighted tire strapped to his back. The caption reads, “Quitting is not an option. I will keep working till I become better at this.”
Dennis’ videos soon went viral and caught the eye of an Atlanta attorney, who eventually helped Dennis make his way to the United States.
After three failed attempts to obtain a visa, Dennis ultimately received permission to travel to Frederick, where he joined his teammates earlier this month.
In a more recent video posted on Twitter, Dennis is seen sporting modern-day catcher’s gear and working out in the Frederick facility. On the post he writes, “Thank you thank you (Houston Astros catcher) Martin Maldonado for the catcher gear.”
“I am so happy, I am so excited to live my dream,” Dennis said. “My dream is to be an MLB player. I want to be like (Kansas City Royals catcher) Salvador Perez and (former St. Louis Cardinals catcher) Yadier Molina. They are my favorite.”
“I do this for my grandmother and for my baseball brothers at home. I hope to make MLB and I hope to build baseball in Uganda.”