MV’s recipe for success
NILES – Timely two-out hits and dominant pitching led Mahoning Valley to a 6-1 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades.
However, the Scrappers got plenty of help from the Renegades in the form of poor defense. Hudson Valley committed six errors, which resulted in all six runs being unearned.
The Scrappers fell behind quickly, giving up a run in the first inning just 2 minutes after the game began. Starting pitcher Dace Kime gave up a leadoff double to Renegades second baseman Ariel Soriano. Soriano moved to third on a groundout to second, and shortstop Darryl George hit an RBI single to right.
However, the Scrappers retaliated with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. All three were unearned runs as the Renegades committed three errors. The big hit of the inning came in deja vu fashion of Friday night. Just like in Friday’s walk-off win, shortstop James Roberts and first baseman Nellie Rodriguez scored, after reaching base with singles when Paul Hendrix hit a two-out triple into the right-field corner. The opposite-field hit rolled to almost the exact spot as Friday’s double.
The Scrappers added another run in the fourth. Cody Ferrell hit a two-out single to left and advanced to second after Renegades left fielder James Harris bobbled the ball. The next batter, Joel Mejia, drove in Ferrell on an infield single. Two more two-out RBIs were added in the seventh off singles form Roberts and Rodriguez.
Many of the early-season struggles for the Scrappers were due to leaving runners on base and committing errors. Roles were reversed for the Scrappers and their opponent on Saturday.
“We’ve always gotten guys on base,” Roberts said. “It’s been like that all season. It was just a matter of timing on when we get our hits and get those RBIs in.”
The Scrappers drove in five of the six runs with two outs, all enabled by errors.
“When you give a team outs, it’s certainly going to be a lot easier to score runs,” Roberts said. “That’s what they did for us and we were able to capitalize.”
The pitching for the Scrappers was nearly flawless. After the first inning, the pitching staff struck out 13 and gave up four hits.
“They were filling up the zone,” Roberts said. Anytime the other team made contact, it seemed like it was pretty weak contact. We were getting a lot of ground balls, weak fly balls. It’s easy to play defense behind that, and when they do their job like that it’s fun.”
Kime pitched four complete innings, striking out five and giving up the only run off three hits. The 2013 third-round draft pick is the ninth-ranked prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization, according to MLB.com, and has a 2.75 ERA on the season.
“I think he threw better tonight overall,” manager Ted Kubiak said. “I think he had a little bit more command than he did last time – his curveball looked really good tonight.”
“That was just a game that I’ve anticipated all year. They’re where I think they should be right now, and I like where they are. I’ve been looking at their demeanor and their work ethic. They’re in a good state of mind.”
The final game of the series against Hudson Valley is at 5:05 p.m. tonight. The Scrappers are off Monday for the all-star break and begin a six-game road trip on Wednesday.