Mahoning Valley Scrappers Off and Running
By Dave Roberts
Mahoning Valley opened their 2012 season on Monday with a quick two game road trip against the Jamestown Jammers followed by a short two game home stand against those same Jammers. The highlight of the opening two series for Scrappers’ fans was the professional debut of Tyler Naquin on Wednesday’s opening night at Eastwood Field.
Mahoning Valley and Jamestown each split the home and away series placing both teams with a record of 2-2 good for a four-way tie for second place in the Pinckney Division.
Several of the Indians 2012 draft picks made their first professional debuts during the series. Geoffrey Davenport, although drafted in 2011 made his pro debut as the Scrappers starter on opening day, unfortunately he ended up with a rough line of 4.2 innings pitched, with three runs allowed on five hits, two walks and two punch-outs. Fortunately, thanks in large part to Juan Romero’s two home runs and four runs batted in the Scrappers won 8-5.
Both Joseph Wendle and Nick Pasquale made their pro debuts in Tuesday’s game against the Jammers. Wendle getting his first taste of professional baseball posted a 0-4 in the box score but was involved in turning a double play. The start went to Jake Sisco, another highly thought of prospect in the Indians organization who worked in the Arizona League last year. He worked through 3.2 innings allowing three runs on five hits while striking out two and walking three. Meanwhile Nick Pasquale came in the 5th inning and tossed two scoreless innings of relief in which he struck out three and allowed just one hit. Unfortunately, the Scrappers collected just three hits as a team and lost to the Jammers 3-1.
Wednesday’s home opener at Eastwood Field featured the highlight for the young season in the pro debut of the Indians number one draft pick Tyler Naquin. Naquin in his debut went 3-4 collecting a double, two singles, and a stolen base displaying that he was in fact ready to take the step from college to pro ball. Alongside his impressive debut at the plate on a lazy routine fly out to center, he showcased his much-vaunted canon of an arm with his strike from deep center into the infield.
The Scrappers got a great start from Luis DeJesus, who recently arrived from Lake County, as he tossed five innings not allowing any runs while scattering three hits, a walk, and striking out two. Scott Peoples came on in relief for the sixth inning and unfortunately, the Jammers got to him for a run saddling the youngster with a blown save in his debut. The Scrappers continued to receive solid relief work including three innings from another 2012 draftee Louis Head in which he allowed just two hits and struck out three. In a game that belonged to pitching, the Scrappers finally struck the final blow in the bottom of the 11th inning. A series of singles, including one by Joseph Wendle another 2012 draftee who went 2-4 in that game with 2 singles, a walk, a run scored and a run batted in, led to Juan Romero playing the hero yet again as he scored the winning run on a bases loaded walk.
The final home game of the series saw the Jammers jump out early against starter Ryan Merrit who in four innings of work allowed four runs on nine hits. The following two relievers Rafael Hombert and Cody Penny, another 2012 draftee, each allowed another run in the next three innings of relief work. Although the Jammers hit the cover off the ball against the Scrappers’ arms, they were assisted by the three errors committed by Scrappers fielders including two by Charlie Valerio at first base. Meanwhile a Scrappers offense that featured Jeremy Lucas a 2012 draftee behind the plate, managed to just scratch out two runs on five hits in the game as the Scrappers fell to the Jammers 6-2.
Mahoning Valley (2-2) will take to the road to take on the State College Spikes (2-2) in a three game road trip before returning home Monday for a six game home stand.