Scrappers snap losing skid at nine
NILES — Henderson DeOleo saw it coming.
As DeOleo made his way to the batter’s box Thursday in the eighth inning of a tied game, the Scrappers’ designated hitter envisioned a base hit of some sort. He envisioned crossing the plate.
DeOleo’s prophecy proved accurate, and as a result, the Scrappers’ nine-game losing streak is history.
DeOleo doubled with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, then advanced to third and scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a pair of wild pitches. The Scrappers tacked on an additional run and defeated Auburn 6-4 in front of an enthusiastic Buck Night crowd of 3,025.
The win for MV (23-29) was its first since it defeated the Doubledays in Auburn back on July 27.
“As I was going up to home plate and I saw a fastball in tight, I knew that’s what was coming so I just waited on it and made good contact,” DeOleo said of his double to center field. “Once I got on base, I knew I was going to score some way.”
DeOleo did just that when Auburn reliever Trey Turner threw a pair of pitches to the backstop. Turner also walked a batter in the inning and Brayan Rocchio knocked in an insurance run with a base hit.
“As soon as I see that ball hit the dirt, I’m taking off,” DeOleo said. “I’m always aggressive, always looking to go that extra 90 feet.”
The insurance run wasn’t necessary as Scrappers reliever Nick Mikolajchak pitched a perfect ninth (with a pair of strikeouts) to earn his second save of the season. Mikolajchak has appeared in nine games (13 innings) and has yet to give up an earned run.
“What a relief, it feels great to get a win and now maybe we can build off that,” DeOleo said.
Auburn wasted no time building a 2-0 lead. Doubledays left fielder Rickardo Mendez led off the game by singling to center. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Mendez scored on a Jake Randa base hit.
Randa scored from first on a J.T. Arruda two-out triple.
The Scrappers tied the game at 2-2 in the second inning thanks to the wildness of Auburn starter Carlos Romero. The right-hander walked the bases loaded, then Julian Escobedo and Brayan Rocchio both singled in a run.
Auburn took a 4-2 lead in the fourth on a Jeremy Ydens two-run home run. However, the Scrappers again took advantage of Romero’s wildness to tie the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Romero gave up a leadoff single and a pair of walks. Joab Gonzalez then plated a pair of runs with a single.
Romero worked 4 2/3 innings, giving up the four runs on seven hits. He issued six walks, but was able to limit the damage as the Scrappers left seven men on base through five innings.
Scrappers starter Gregori Vasquez gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings of work. He scattered six hits while striking out four.
Vasquez made his first start for the Scrappers this season, but he is no stranger to Eastwood Field. Vasquez pitched for the Scrappers in 2017, posting a 5-3 record and a 2.38 earned run average. He pitched in 28 games last year at Lake County before suffering an injury. He recently came to MV in what was described as a rehab assignment from the Arizona League.
“One game at a time, now maybe we can start a streak in the opposite direction and get back into the mix,” DeOleo said. “We showed early on that we can be a good team so there is no reason we can’t turn this around.”
The Scrappers and Doubledays continue their series tonight at 7:05 p.m.