Cooper’s walk-off lifts Scrappers, 6-5

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Mahoning Valley’s Henry Pujols reacts after hitting a two-run home run.

NILES — While Indians reliever Dan Otero made a rehab appearance with the team, it was Michael Cooper’s walk-off single Monday that was the highlight play in the Scrappers’ 6-5 victory over Hudson Valley.

“It was a great opportunity for the guys to battle the whole game and just play the whole nine innings,” Scrappers manager Dennis Malave said. “That was good for them to finish up the game the way they did.”

Cooper drove home Korey Holland from third base for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Scrappers then turned their attention to Cooper, rushed toward their teammate and showered him with Gatorade.

For Cooper, it was a rare highlight on Monday.

“We got the win, which is pretty much all that matters at this point,” Cooper said. “Even though I still had a rough day, going 1-of-5 at the plate, it’s all about the win.”

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Hudson Valley’s Greg Jones, right, slides into third base for a triple.

Otero started the game throwing 14 pitches, striking out one and allowing a hit. He was happy with the way he played, but wished he could have finished the inning.

“I felt good,” he said. “I was a little upset that I wasn’t able to get through the inning, but foul balls happen. And, I was told I wasn’t able to go over a certain amount of pitches today for my first time out, but we were able to get out of the inning with them putting up zero. And, that’s always good.”

While not happy he wasn’t able to finish off the last batter, he said he’s glad to be facing live hitters again.

“I just wanted to face some batters,” Otero said. “I haven’t seen live hitters in six weeks so the opportunity to face live hitters was great, so I made the drive down here and now I’ll make the drive back home.”

The teams were scoreless until the Scrappers broke the scoring open in the bottom of the fourth inning with two home runs. George Valera hit a solo shot to get the Scrappers on the board. Later on in the inning, Henry Pujols hit a two-run home run that would score himself and Johnathan Rodriguez.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh The ball is throw high as Mahoning Valley’s Korey Holland, right, steals second base

The next inning, Ray Delgado hit a sacrifice fly that scored Korey Holland, which gave the Scrappers a 4-0 lead.

Hudson Valley stormed back, scoring five runs across the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead, including a home run by Luis Trevino.

While falling behind, the Scrappers were never out of the game, hammering away at the ball until a well-placed ball tied up the game and had them in position to win.

Holland hit a triple that scored Pujols and set himself up to score the game-winning run.

Even though the record may not show it, the Scrappers (15-16) have been consistent in being a team that constantly battles. Malave, thinking from a development standpoint, thinks this is something that the players can carry all through their careers.

“I think that is something that is going to define the character of this team,” Malave said. “We’re going to continue to battle every single pitch, no matter what the score shows. We’re going to continue to play the game and that’s going to carry on to the next level and the next level and hopefully we’ll see some guys playing every pitch in the big leagues.”

The Scrappers have today off before embarking on a six-game road trip, starting Wednesday at Williamsport. They return home on Tuesday, July 23, for a three-game series against State College. All three games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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