Scrappers find their form in shutout victory
NILES — All of a sudden, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers have regained their early-season pitching groove.
The Scrappers defeated Williamsport 4-0 on Tuesday in what was the opening of a six-game homestand at Eastwood Field.
The Scrappers have won three straight and in those three games they have given up just two runs.
Prior to the three-game winning streak, the Scrappers had lost nine in a row while giving up an average of 10.5 runs per game.
Tuesday’s game was a seven inning contest. On Monday, the MLB Draft League announced that all league games played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the season will be limited to seven innings.
The decision to shorten select games was made in an effort to limit the workload of pitchers throughout the league. Nearly all pitching staffs were depleted following the MLB Draft.
A vast majority of pitchers who weren’t either drafted or signed as free agents left their respective teams ahead of next year’s college season.
Scrappers starter John Medich (Georgia Tech), who was added to the roster a week ago, pitched 4.2 scoreless innings to get the win. Medich scattered five hits while recording four strikeouts.
All four of the Scrappers’ runs were aided by Williamsport errors. Scrappers leadoff hitter Buck Anderson reached on an error to start the bottom of the first and came around to score on a Duncan Hewitt sacrifice fly.
A second error by Williamsport second baseman Lance Logsdon plated a pair of runs in the fourth. One inning later Jarrod Belbin doubled, stole third, then scored on a throwing error.
The Scrappers have recorded four shutouts this year – all 4-0 finals.
Tuesday’s game featured the pitching debut of Adam Wibert, a 2019 Mathews High graduate.
Wibert recently completed his freshman season at Bryant and Stratton College where he appeared in 11 games, started in five and earned a record of 1-2. He recorded a 6.75 ERA in 30.2 innings of work while striking out 48.
Wibert, who will be transferring to Slippery Rock University this fall, was added to the Scrappers roster earlier in the day. He entered the game in the seventh inning with runners on first and third and two out. He struck out Williamsport designated hitter Dakota Kotowski to end the game and pick up a save.
“Pretty surreal, this all happened so fast,” Wibert said of his Scrappers debut. “I got a call saying I was being invited to join the team. Are you kidding me? I watched a lot of games here as a kid. I played a few games here all four years during high school and in summer ball”
“To put on a Scrappers uniform was pretty crazy.”
Wibert received a strong ovation when he entered the game and an even stronger recognition when Kotowski swung and missed at the final pitch.
“I didn’t tell too many people about this, I tried to keep it low-key but word quickly got out among family and friends,” Wibert said. “It’s funny, when I came to Scrappers games as a little kid and I was always in awe of the players. It’s pretty neat to be put in this situation.”
Wibert is an education major. He believes his time with the Scrappers will be an education which will help his baseball career.
“There’s a lot of pitchers on this team from big-time schools,” Wibert said. “I’m anxious to sit back and observe. I’m anxious to talk to these players and learn as much as I can over the next couple of weeks.”
“I wouldn’t mind returning here next summer for a full season.”
The Scrappers and Crosscutters continue their three-game series tonight beginning at 7:05.