×

Scrappers halt skid, rally late

MV scores three runs in 9th, beat Spikes in sudden death

NILES – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Saturday were on the verge of suffering their tenth loss in a row.

Instead, they rallied for some late-inning magic that hasn’t been present at Eastwood Field since early June.

Trailing 5-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Scrappers scored three runs to send the game into sudden death. The Scrappers then opted to take the field in the extra half-inning. The Spikes began the frame with a runner at first and needed to score a run to win the game. However, Scrappers reliever Chad Coles retired three straight batters, securing the Scrappers’ win.

Mahoning Valley began its rally with one out in the ninth. Alex Crump and Oscar Ponce pounded out back-to-back singles. An Alex Araus strikeout left the Scrappers down to their final out. However Parker DePasquale singled home Crump, then Abimael Gonzalez Acosta laced a double to the fence in right-center to tie the game.

Crump had earlier given MV its first two runs on a two-run homer in the fifth.

Coles worked the final three frames without giving up a hit to pick up the win. He issued three walks in the eighth, but struck out a pair to get out of the jam. He worked around a walk in the ninth while recording a strikeout. He also earned a punch-out in the perfect tenth inning.

The Scrappers won a sudden-death game for the first time this year in three tries at Eastwood Field. Each time, they chose to take the field in the extra half-inning.

The Scrappers and Spikes conclude their three-game series this afternoon at 2:05.

BASEBALL AND MORE

In many ways, Scrappers infielder Gabe Gonzalez doesn’t fit the profile of your typical baseball player striving to advance to the professional ranks.

Gonzalez readily admits that growing up, he loved playing football and in fact acknowledges that he performed better on the gridiron than on the baseball diamond.

Concussions literally knocked him away from football at an early age.

“I played Pop Warner for about six years until I was 14-years-old,” Gonzalez said. “I suffered about six concussions. I just said that was enough, I was tired of it, it was too much.”

“I feel like I could have been a pretty good player at the next levels, but who really knows, and I don’t live with regrets.”

As for following the game of baseball?

“I don’t like watching games, I never sit down and watch baseball,” Gonzalez said. “I love watching football. I’m a big Philadelphia Eagles fan and a LeBron fan.”

Gonzalez’s favorite hobby – video games – is more like a passion. In fact, his love for the Eagles stems from the fact that Philadelphia was his first team of choice on Madden NFL. He says he can easily spend five hours playing video games on rare off-days. Rainbow Six Siege is his go-to game, and he boasts that his best friend is ranked as a top five player in the world.

Still, put Gonzalez on a baseball field and he feels right at home.

“I love playing in this league because it’s not just show up, play and go home, it’s an entire day at the ballpark and there is no place I’d rather be,” Gonzalez said. “We get to the stadium around 1:30 in the afternoon and leave around 11 at night, and it’s all baseball. It’s a great experience.”

“The travel, the playing every day, it’s a real professional-like environment. It gives us a taste of what we’re striving for and I’m thankful to be part of it.”

Gonzalez hails from Mission Hills, CA. He played two years at Los Angeles Mission College, where he was named a Junior College preseason All-American following his freshman season. He then spent three years at Cal State-Northridge.

This past spring, Gonzalez led the Matadors in home runs (11), RBI (39) and slugging percentage (.529).

“I didn’t have much of an opportunity to play in 2021, and this past spring I was given a chance and made the best of it,” Gonzalez said. “I believe my best baseball is still ahead of me.”

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
     

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today