Near comeback

Scrappers edged by Williamsport in 1-run game

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Billy Wilson slides into home in the ninth inning to pull the Scrappers within a run in their 6-5 loss Tuesday night.

NILES — With two runners on and down one run in the last of the ninth, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers had a chance to come back for a win Tuesday night at Eastwood Field, but a ground ball to Williamsport pitcher Omar Maldonado ended those hopes, leaving the Scrappers just short, falling 6-5.

“It’s another game that we can learn from and continue to get better,” Scrappers manager Dennis Malave said. “We made a few mistakes and they just did a good job playing their game. They hit a few balls that gave them the opportunity to get on the board. We need to do a better job playing teams like them.”

Starting for the Scrappers was Ethan Hankins. Hankins threw six strikeouts through 4 2/3 innings. Coming into the game in relief was Jake Miednik who was assigned to the team for a rehab stint from Lake County. Miednik struck out the last batter in the fifth and left the game.

After that, the Crosscutters scored four runs, including a home run by first baseman Juan Aparicio in the top of the eighth. The Scrappers refused to go down without a fight, however, as they went into the ninth inning re-energized.

Leading off in the bottom of the ninth was Billy Wilson. Wilson hit a ground ball to right field to get on base. After Henderson De Oleo advanced him to second, Korey Holland stepped up to the plate.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Ethan Hankins delivers a pitch during the Scrappers’ loss.

Like Wilson, Holland went to right field and placed the ball just out of reach of the right fielder. Wilson slid into home to close the gap to one run.

Once Wilson cut the lead to one, the mood in the dugout completely switched. They were ready to go out there and get the win. Unfortunately for the Scrappers, they couldn’t close the deal. Ray Delgado grounded out and the game ended in a loss and gave the Scrappers their third series loss of the year.

“We had an opportunity to get back in the game and win it in the last inning,” Malave said. “We were probably one single away from winning the game and we just couldn’t finish it.”

Up next for the Scrappers is a three-game road trip to Brooklyn. They’ll play the Cyclones over the next three days in the team’s first New York City trip of the season.

“This is the first time we’ll be going out to New York to play as a team,” Malave said. “We’re going to take a bus ride and be ready to compete and make sure we’re ready to play tomorrow.”

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Mahoning Valley’s Bryan Lavastida drives a ball foul during the Scrappers’ loss to Williamsport Tuesday at Eastwood Field. Lavastida went two-for-five during the game.

The team left around 11 p.m. Tuesday night just an hour after the Williamsport game ended.

“That’s what baseball in the minor leagues is,” Malave said. “It’s all about learning. Learning to go on a bus ride and be ready to play the next day. It’s going to be a good learning opportunity for them to make sure we’re prepared and ready to play first pitch.”

The Scrappers will be getting a makeover for their next home game, as they’ll be taking the field as the Mahoning Valley Peppers in Oil for Saturday’s game against the Hudson Valley Renegades. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Bryan Lavastida of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers dives back into second base to avoid a pickoff attempt during the Scrappers’ 6-5 loss Tuesday night to the Williamsport Crosscutters at Eastwood Field.