NILES - The Jamestown Jammers are no different than the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. It's just that Jamestown has the best record in the New York-Penn League, has led the Pinckney Division for more than two months, is riding a four-game winning streak and has won just three less games on the road than the Scrappers have won all season.
"I wouldn't say, talent wise, that they're better than we are," Mahoning Valley shortstop James Roberts said. "They're cleaner with the way they play. For us, it's just a matter of cleaning up the little things and playing with more energy."
Roberts committed a throwing error and went 0 for 3 in the Scrappers' 3-1 loss to the Jammers on Wednesday. For the season, they're 3-6 against Jamestown (37-23). The two teams face each other four more times this year, including tonight at 7:05 p.m.
"Jamestown does all the little things right," said Scrappers right fielder Josh McAdams.
In games against each other, the Jammers have scored 21 more runs than the Scrappers (38-17), but only have three more total hits (52-49). Both teams have committed eight errors each during those games, with Jamestown tallying five in a game on June 19.
"I think we definitely could've competed with them all season if we just had a little more energy," Roberts said. "That was our problem (on Wednesday). Honestly, our biggest downfall was lack of energy on our part as a team. We had no real energy to get our teammates fired up. It's hard to play like that.
"I'm sure we'll pick it up before it's too late."
Though there was only four runs scored, the game last two hours and 54 minutes. Each teams used four pitchers and over 300 pitches were thrown.
The shortest inning for the Scrappers was the top of the sixth when relief pitcher Michael Goodnight escaped a bases-loaded jam and a full count with two outs as Jamestown catcher Jin-De Jhang lined out to Roberts.
Goodnight pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Luis Gomez, who made his first Single A start on Monday. Gomez walked four batters, allowed all three runs and struck out four over 4 innings.
Ben Heller and Harold Guerrero each pitched one perfect inning in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
"The pitchers battled and really competed," Roberts said. "They were stuck in some crappy situations and the defense didn't help on some plays. It's our turn as an offense to help them out."
Second baseman Paul Hendrix collected two hits and Robel Garcia hit his fifth home run - a towering shot that left the park in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Jamestown scored one run in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Mahoning Valley dropped to 23-36.