Spiked again

Scrappers fall behind early in 13-6 defeat

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh State College first baseman Daniel Gomez, left, stretches to make the catch, retiring Mahoning Valley’s Korey Holland Friday night in the Scrappers’ 13-6 loss to the Spikes.

NILES — The Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ woes against State College continued Friday in a 13-6 loss to the Spikes in a game in which both offenses were alive and well.

Things looked bleak for the Scrappers early, with State College scoring nine runs and getting 10 of their 15 hits in the first three innings. Once momentum swung their way, it was going to be hard to get it to swing back.

“It was another difficult game where we had trouble executing pitches,” Scrappers manager Dennis Malave said. “They got so many hits early in the game and took the momentum on their side. We just couldn’t catch up in time in order to turn it around.”

After the dominant third inning from the Spikes, which saw them score five runs, the Scrappers started to show some life. George Valera hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to close the gap to a 9-3 State College lead.

The Scrappers went on to score three more runs in the game. In the sixth inning, Korey Holland hit a fly ball to right field which scored Jonathan Lopez and Pedro Alfonseca. In the next inning, Lopez singled on a ground ball that scored Michael Cooper.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Mahoning Valley’s Brayan Rocchio waits to field a ground ball as the scoreboard at Eastwood Field tells the story of State College jumping ahead early in a 13-6 win over the Scrappers Friday night.

State College score one last time in the ninth inning from a sacrifice fly hit by Pedro Pages that scored David Vinsky.

The loss brings the Scrappers to 4-6 in their last 10 games. Consistency has seemed to be the issue for the team, going from hot to cold. It’s all a part of the learning process according to Malave.

“I talked to them about constantly learning the game and continuing to give good effort in order to play in games like that,” Malave said. “It’s easier to play in games when you’re winning. It’s just as important to play in games where it’s difficult and that’s what we want our reputation to be. What we want to be known for.”

While obviously not happy the team is struggling, Malave is glad for the struggles, so the team has something to learn from.

“Every single team is going to go through difficult times during the regular season,” he said. “We’re happy that we’re going through it right now in order to define our character and define who we are and who we’re going to become as a team.”

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Mahoning Valley’s Carlos Vargas delivers a pitch Friday night in the Scrappers' 13-6 loss to State College.

Malave has talked a lot about the team’s resiliency and thinks now is the perfect opportunity to showcase that once again.

“This is just another opportunity,” Malave said. “These guys are young. They’re learning the game and they’re learning how to deal with their emotions during the game, and that’s what we’re here to teach them and help get them ready for the big leagues.”

The loss pushes the Scrappers (11-10) down to fourth place in the Pinckney Division. They close their series out tonight against State College, with first pitch set for 7:05. Even with the two losses, Malave remains optimistic.

“It’s another opportunity,” Malave said. “First pitch will be there waiting for us and we’ll be waiting for first pitch, too, in order to play another game and get better from it.”