Bullpen battered

Starter Oviedo leaves with score at 1-1

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Mahoning Valley third baseman Henry Pujols makes a throw to first base after fielding a soft ground ball Sunday in the Scrappers’ 8-4 loss to the Williamsport Crosscutters. Pitcher Luis Oviedo, right, ducks out of the way.

NILES — Despite good starting pitching, Williamsport got to the Mahoning Valley bullpen in an 8-4 loss for the Scrappers Sunday in New York-Penn League action at Eastwood Field.

After a shutdown first inning by Mahoning Valley (15-7) starting pitcher Luis Oviedo, the Scrappers struck first.

It began with a leadoff double by Jose Fermin. Richie Palacios scored him from third on a line-drive single to give Mahoning Valley a 1-0 lead.

“I’ve been trying to pass it along to the team and doing what the team needs at the time. I feel like everyone is doing the same thing and that’s why we continue to win,” Palacios said about another great game for him. “We didn’t have it today but we’ll be right after it (today).”

Palacios is now batting .409 in 12 games with the Scrappers. He has hit safely in nine-straight games and has 18 hits in those 12 games.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Scrappers starting pitcher Luis Oviedo (53) throws a pitch in their 8-4 loss to Williamsport on Sunday.

Oviedo was excellent again on the mound for the Scrappers. He went five innings while giving up one unearned run and fanning six batters.

“He’s a young kid that is starting to come into his own. He’s starting to figure out just how good he can be,” Scrappers pitching coach Jason Blanton said about Oviedo’s season to date. “His physical ability has always been there, there’s no question about that. I think he’s the one taking ownership and he’s the one driving the bus and controlling it.”

This year, Oviedo has started five games and has a 3-0 record. In 28 innings of work, Oviedo has a 0.32 earned run average with 40 strikeouts to five walks. That works out to nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings.

Oviedo left the game after five innings with the game tied 1-1.

Mahoning Valley took its last lead of the game in the sixth as Palacios scored Freeman on an RBI triple. After that, the bullpen couldn’t hold it down.

Tyler Freeman looks at a pitch by Williamsport starting pitcher Jack Perkins.

Ben Aklinski drilled a three-run home run in the top of the seventh to give Williamsport (9-13) a 4-2 lead. Williamsport tacked on some more in the top of the eighth, using small ball to add four more runs and an 8-2 lead.

The Scrappers scored two in the bottom of the eighth but it wasn’t nearly enough.

“They are all young. We have to remember that this is short-A. They might hang a slider when they don’t want to or walk someone when they don’t want to,” Blanton said about the bullpen’s tough day. “It’s just part of the development process. We try to keep them positive and upbeat while learning from their mistakes.”

Henry Pujols (10) gets thrown at a second base as Williamsport second baseman Brayan Hernandez gets ready for the tag.

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