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Gloomy Scrappers lose 9th straight

NILES – When it rains, it pours…and when it doesn’t rain, a black cloud seemingly lingers over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

For a second straight day, Niles was spared from the threatening weather which was present Friday throughout much of Northeast Ohio. The Scrappers game against the State College Spikes proceeded as scheduled, prompting another gloomy outcome for the home team.

On a Fireworks Night at Eastwood Field, the Scrappers’ offense fired blanks, resulting in a 5-1 Spikes win in front of 4,240 fans.

The Scrappers (18-35, 3-11) have now lost nine straight.

Scrappers starter Isaac Olson gave up two runs right out of the gate, surrendering a walk, a double and a pair of singles in the first inning. He then settled down to retire the next 13 batters he faced before Nick Gile homered to lead off the sixth, giving State College a 3-0 lead.

Olson worked six innings, giving up the three runs on six hits while recording three strikeouts.

Unfortunately for Olson and the Scrappers, State College starter J.D. Daniels was even more impressive. Daniels worked six innings, giving up just one run on three hits.

The Scrappers’ lone run came in the sixth inning when a Jeffrey Wehler triple scored Dom Bucko.

The Scrappers and Spikes continue their three-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m.

COLES HEATING UP

When asked to define his baseball career to this point, Scrappers pitcher Chad Coles reflects back to May 27, and his final performance in a Youngstown State University uniform.

Coles, who graduated from YSU this past spring, was the Penguins’ starting pitcher in a Horizon League second-round tournament game. Coles worked 6.2 innings, surrendering just one earned run while recording eight strikeouts. YSU fell to Oakland 2-0 in a game which ended at 12:16 a.m.

Coles threw 126 pitches in the contest.

Less than 24 hours later with YSU again playing Oakland in a tournament elimination game, Coles came out of the bullpen and worked the final 0.2 innings. He didn’t allow a run and recorded a strikeout in what would be YSU’s final game of the season.

Coles’ back-to-back performances also happened to be his 99th and 100th mound appearances in a Penguins uniform.

“That’s just me, that’s who I am,” Coles said. “I always want the ball in my hand no matter the situation. I always want to be ready and available and I want to play as much as possible.”

“That type of mentality might come back to bite me at times, but I’ll never turn down the opportunity to get into a game.”

Not surprisingly, Coles leads all Scrappers pitchers in innings pitched (35.1) and appearances (17).

Earlier this week, Coles hit 97 on the radar gun for the first time in his career.

“That was pretty special because earlier this year I listed it as one of my goals in my yearly planner,” Coles said. “I actually hit 96 for the first time in 2020 during the COVID shutdown when I was pitching in a pickup league near home. I’ve been aiming for 97 ever since.”

Between YSU and MV, Coles has logged 113 innings this spring and summer. He acknowledged that the heavy workload caught up to him in mid-July.

“I kind of hit that wall, my velocity dropped just a bit, but it was right at the end of the first half of our season,” Coles said. “We had a five day break, and I feel like ever since we started up with the second half of the season I caught my second wind.”

“I really feel like I’m right on the cusp of reaching that next level. I feel like it’s only a matter of time.”

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