NILES - The Mahoning Valley Scrappers might play in short-season Single A, but Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak was quick to remind reporters that Thursday night's game was only game four of the young season.
And it would be easy for the Scrappers to be discouraged after a 6-2 loss to the Jamestown Jammers. Mahoning Valley allowed 13 hits, including four for extra bases, compared to only five hits for the home team.
"We didn't hit much tonight, there's no secret about that," Kubiak said. "These guys are working on stuff. The hitters just need to get used to the wrinkles and the breaking balls. We'll see what happens."
There was no big inning for the Jammers, just consistent hits and runs. Jamestown put up one run in the first, second, sixth and seventh innings. The run in the sixth came on a solo home run from Brian Dice.
The biggest inning the Jammers had was the fourth - putting up two runs. Ironically, it also was the most exciting inning defensively for the Scrappers.
With one out, Jamestown's Jesus Solorzano doubled down the left field line, followed by a Cameron Flynn single to center, moving Solorzano to third. Juancito Martinez added another single, advancing Flynn and scoring Solorzano, giving the Jammers at the time the 3-1 lead.
Then, Jamestown tried to get fancy. With Anthony Gomez at the plate, the Jammers attempted to double steal Flynn and Cameron. Noticing the play, Mahoning Valley catcher Jeremy Lucas snapped a throw to third, catching Flynn for the out.
Still at bat, Gomez singled to left field, scoring Martinez. However, Gomez got greedy and tried to stretch the single to a double. Lucas cut off the throw from left fielder Hunter Jones and fired a throw to Jose Ramirez at second base, catching Gomez and ending the inning.
"I knew we had no chance at the plate with the runner on third, so I just tried to cut the throw off as soon as I could to get it to second," Lucas said. "At least I did some things right today."
Lucas also was on the receiving end of an attempted steal at home in the second inning by Jamestown. Not a bad night's work for the catcher who was making his professional baseball debut.
"Yea, I had some jitters playing in my first pro game," Lucas said. "I just tried to tell myself it's the same game I've played since I was little. I played relaxed today and thought I did well for my first time out."
The two runs for the Scrappers came in the first and ninth innings. In the first, Ramirez scored on a Jamestown wild pitch. In the ninth, Juan Romero drove in Jones on a single to right field.
Ramirez had the best night offensively for Mahoning Valley, going 2-for-3 with a double. The good outing and his .364 batting average earned him a trip up to Lake County. For the rest of the Scrappers, Kubiak knows things will come around.
"We'll see what happens as time goes on," Kubiak said. "Only time will tell."