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Scrappers earn another sudden-death win

MV rallies from 5-0 deficit against Spikes, picks up 2nd straight ‘OT’ win

NILES — In the span of 19 hours, history repeated itself at Eastwood Field.

On Saturday, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers rallied with a three-run ninth inning to tie their game against State College at 5-5. The Scrappers then kept the Spikes from scoring in sudden death to secure the win.

On Sunday, the Scrappers and Spikes again headed into sudden death deadlocked in a 5-5 tie. The Scrappers again opted to play defense, the Spikes again failed to score and the Scrappers walked away with the victory.

The Scrappers dug themselves a 5-0 deficit before making a game of it in the seventh. A pair of walks put two men on base with two out, forcing State College to turn to its bullpen. Dom Bucko then greeted Will Lancaster’s first pitch by crushing it over the right field wall, cutting the Scrappers’ deficit to 5-3.

One inning later, the Scrappers took advantage of three walks, a hit batter and an error to tie the game at 5-5.

State College began sudden death with Ryan Chesney at first representing the winning run. However Chesney was gunned down by Taj Porter on an attempted steal. Scrappers closer Alan Carter gave up a single to Josh Madole, but then induced a double play to end the game.

The Scrappers will now embark on a six-game road trip which will take them to Williamsport and Frederick.

HANDLING THE CURVEBALLS

Scrappers pitcher Isaac Olson knows what it must feel like for a batter facing his curveball.

After all, the sport of baseball has thrown Olson a few curveballs over the past few years. And, Olson has taken them all in stride.

A native of Stanwood, WA, Olson played collegiately at George Fox University, a Division III school in Oregon.

“I love DIII baseball, it gives guys a chance and those of us who are there appreciate the opportunity and give it their all,” Olson said.

In 2020 GFU was 17-2 and ranked as one of the top DIII programs in the nation. Olson and his teammates were on a roll when COVID shut down the season.

“It was disheartening, especially given the fact that our team was loaded with seniors,” Olson said. “The entire situation was surreal. But, what can you do? You just have to keep plugging on.”

When Olson opted to return for a final year in 2021, he was the lone senior on the roster. He led the staff with 14 appearances and in the process broke the school’s all-time appearance record. He went 2-1 with two saves.

Olson then had a tryout with the Pioneer League but failed to make a roster. He joined up with the PECOS League, which he describes as “the league guys join when they don’t have a job.” The exact same scenario played out this year. Olson was 5-1 in the PECOS League in mid-July when he was invited to join the Scrappers and the MLB Draft League.

“I’m just looking for that last chance to showcase my skills with the hope of getting noticed,” Olson said. “I have one of those live arms where I can throw back-to-back, or I can start and throw 100 pitches. I’m up for anything.”

Though used primarily as a reliever his entire career, Olson earned the start in his Scrappers debut on July 25. He worked 6.1 innings, giving up just one run on four hits while recording five strikeouts. This past Friday Olson started against State College and gave up a pair of first-inning runs, then retired 13 straight. He ended up working six innings, giving up three runs on six hits.

“I enjoy the starts,” Olson said. “It plays into what I have, I can mix things up with the ability to work through the order a few times, but I’ll do whatever I’m asked.”

Like his teammates, Olson’s ultimate goal is to sign a professional contract. But, he is also realistic about the odds being stacked against him, especially given the fact he is 24-years-old.

Olson possesses a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

“During the off-season I’ll look to get an engineering job, then consider one more year of Independent ball,” Olson said. “I want nothing more than to keep playing, but at some point you have to have other goals and start the other chapter of your life.”

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