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On Fire

Scrappers extend win-streak to three with 7-3 victory over Black Bears

Correspondent Photo / Robert Hayes Jarrod Belbin (left) reacts with pitcher Kerry Wright after making an outstanding play Friday evening.

NILES — Something had to give Friday when the West Virginia Black Bears and Mahoning Valley Scrappers met at Eastwood Field.

The Scrappers entered the game with the best home record (7-2) in the MLB Draft League, while the Black Bears were sporting a league-best 4-1-2 road record.

Both teams were riding two-game winning streaks, and the Scrappers were in first place in the league standings, just a half-game ahead of the Black Bears.

At the end of the night, the Scrappers extended their winning streak to three and widened their first place lead thanks to a 7-3 win over the Black Bears.

The Scrappers lift their overall record to 14-7 while West Virginia falls to 11-7-3.

“This was a really nice win all the way around,” said Scrappers first baseman Jason Hinchman. “(Wednesday night) we played more than four hours, it was a sloppy game. Tonight we came out and it seemed like we were clicking on offense, on defense and especially our pitching. Those guys were on fire.”

Early on, it appeared as though fans would be treated to another high-scoring shootout at Eastwood Field.

An error, a wild pitch and a batter hit by a pitch put runners at first and third with just one out in the top of the first. Paul McIntosh followed that with a triple, which gave the Black Bears a quick 2-0 lead.

However, Scrappers starter Jimmy Burnette settled in to pitch three scoreless innings. Burnette finished the night giving up just the two runs on three hits while recording five strikeouts.

Black Bears starter Cam Baumann was equally impressive. The lefty worked five innings scattering six hits while giving up one run.

The Scrappers scored their first run in the top of the first on a Hinchman single that scored Buck Anderson. The game remained 2-1 in West Virginia’s favor until the sixth when the Scrappers broke through for a pair of runs.

Hinchman — who leads the league with 19 RBI — again came through with a one-out single that scored a run. He eventually scored on a throwing error.

The Scrappers then broke things open with a four-run seventh. Hinchman again knocked in a run with a base hit. Dan Harwood knocked in a pair of runs with a single while Jarrod Belbin was credited with a sacrifice fly that gave the Scrappers a 7-2 advantage.

“I’ve just tried to be as consistent as possible,” Hinchman said. “It comes with working hard and having an approach and sticking to it.

“As far as the RBI’s, big props to the guys who hit in front of me and give me the opportunity to do that. All the credit goes to them.”

A trio of Scrappers relievers combined to work five innings, giving up just one run and two hits.

The Scrappers outhit West Virginia 14-5.

The Scrappers and Black Bears continue their three-game series tonight at 7:05.

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