Split decision at Eastwood

Scrappers win first game against Crosscutters, but lose nightcap

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Mahoning Valley first baseman Michael Cooper, left, tags out a Williamsport base runner during Monday’s doubleheader at Eastwood Field.

NILES — Mahoning Valley baseball fans were treated to their first doubleheader of the season taking on the Williamsport Crosscutters after Sunday’s rainout.

The teams split the doubleheader as the Scrappers came out on top in the first game, beating Williamsport, 4-0.

Matt Turner was on the mound for the Scrappers in the first game where he threw four strikeouts and walked no batters in six innings.

“The first game was a great opportunity to jump ahead, play good defense and pitch well,” Scrappers manager Dennis Malave said. “Excellent job by Turner. He kept the ball down, threw quality pitches, kept the ball inside and was able to throw six innings for us, which was good help — a good opportunity to shut it down in the seventh.”

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning where Johnathan Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to center field, which scored George Valera.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Charles Marsh Mahoning Valley pitcher Matt Turner looks on during the first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Williamsport Crosscutters.

The Scrappers struck back after scoring their first run. Jonathan Lopez hit a grounder to center field, which knocked in Michael Cooper and Bryan Lavastida.

Lavastida, who was behind home plate, rounded the bases twice in game one and led the team in on-base plus slugging percentage with .899. He scored his second run on an error by the Crosscutters third baseman on a pickoff attempt.

The Scrappers have had bad luck in series-opening games so far this season, with this being their third out of nine attempts. Luck isn’t something that has crossed Malave’s mind, but he is grateful for the opportunities his team gets by facing adversity.

“I don’t believe much in luck, but I guess some things fall better for the other team and just give us an opportunity to fight back and make sure we’re doing everything we can to get back in our second game,” Malave said.

The second game didn’t go as well for the Scrappers as they lost, 3-0. While the offense couldn’t get on the board, Malave thinks the pitching did well.

“In the second game, we didn’t hit much,” Malave said. “We didn’t execute our situational hitting the way we’re capable, but the pitching did a good job.”

Pitcher Ethan Hankins was scheduled to start the second game, but when game time rolled around, Brendan Meyer was on the hill instead for Mahoning Valley. Meyer was just recalled from Lake County. Hankins will instead pitch in tonight’s game against the Crosscutters.

Meyer pitched two innings, where he threw four strikeouts, walked two batters and didn’t allow a hit.

This is the first time the team has played a doubleheader and Malave is glad the team was able to experience playing twice in a day.

“It was the first time this season so it was nice,” Malave said. “At least we got one. In the other one, we didn’t do too well. We’re back on the field tomorrow ready to play one game. It was a good opportunity for them to experience what it’s like to play two games in one day.”

The Scrappers (13-11) close out the series tonight at Eastwood Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

“Hankins is going to pitch tomorrow and he’ll give us another opportunity to compete again,” Malave said. “We just need to come back in and be ready. Respect the other team, they’re a good team and we’re a good team, also. Now we’re going to go and execute and we’re going to work again. We’re going to work on defense tomorrow and be ready to go for the first pitch at 7:05.”