Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Luis Santos had his fair share of fun in State College, Pennsylvania, with one of the bigger moments of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.
The 23-year-old Mahoning Valley right-hander’s battle with Batavia’s Sean Reynolds provided some on-the-field humor with an impressive triple-digit feat as the South rolled to a 7-1 win over the North in the annual exhibition of the league’s top performers.
The first place Mahoning Valley Scrappers (32-22) will be well represented at Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the home of the State College Spikes.
Five members of the Cleveland Indians’ short-season affiliate will represent the South squad in the annual exhibition, a reward for strong performances in the first half of play. Shortstop Tyler Freeman, first baseman Mitch Reeves, outfielder Hosea Nelson, and relievers Luis Santos and Randy Valladares will play together while looking to knock off the North club.
Hosea Nelson’s Player of the Week award on July 23 wasn’t enough, as the 21-year-old outfielder took home the New York-Penn League’s Player of the Month Award earlier this week for his impressive play all throughout July.
Nelson, a ninth round pick by Cleveland in the 2016 draft out of Clarendon College (Texas), is in his third season in the Indians organization and has already surpassed most of his offensive statistics at the plate and on the base paths while working in his second season with short-season Mahoning Valley.
Baseball America released its minor league All-Star teams across all minor league levels on Monday and four prospects from the Cleveland Indians farm system claimed spots on the annual rosters.
The biggest winner was 19-year-old right-hander Triston McKenzie, who was not only named as one of the five starting pitchers selected to the roster, but was announced as the Baseball America Short-Season Pitcher of the Year for his 4-3 record in nine starts while with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Despite giving it a remarkable run late, Mahoning Valley saw its Pinckney Division title hopes lost as the State College Spikes officially eliminated the Scrappers on Saturday night with their win over Auburn.
That the Scrappers were even in a position to be the last team eliminated in the division is astounding, given the horrible start to the short-season schedule for Mahoning Valley in 2016. At 35-33 after Monday night’s 6-5 win in extra innings, the Scrappers have done well to overcome that start and put together a promising season full of growth.
The Scrappers have two more games with Williamsport on the schedule to wrap up August before hosting State College in the final three home games of the season. They will finish the year on the road, playing two against West Virginia.
In other notes from the Scrappers’ scrapbook…
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ hopes of staying above the .500 mark and tracking down a wild card spot hit a bit of a bump in the road as play has resumed following the brief All-Star festivities last week.
The third place Scrappers (30-31) traveled to Batavia, splitting a doubleheader on Wednesday with the Muckdogs while splitting the final two games of the series on Thursday and Friday. They returned home over the weekend to host State College, the top team in the Pinckney Division, who reminded the Scrappers of that fact by taking two of the three contests.
Mahoning Valley will finish up the week with three in Brooklyn starting Tuesday night before returning home this weekend for three against West Virginia from Niles. The season is rapidly coming to its conclusion, as they will journey to Williamsport for three to wrap up the month before a week of September play.
In other news and notes from the Scrappers’ scrapbook:
The New York-Penn League held its annual All-Star Game on Tuesday night. A few early rain drops could only temporarily slow down the festivities from Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, New York, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Many of the six players from the well-represented Mahoning Valley Scrappers got to partake in their first professional midsummer classic and Erlin Cerda played the hero of the game as his South team defeated the North team, 9-5. Cerda took home MVP honors for his three-run home run in the fourth inning that gave the South All-Stars a 4-3 advantage at the time, a lead that they would never relinquish.
The Indians farm system has earned its share of in-season accolades, so it was only fair that Mahoning Valley joined the fun.
On Monday, pitcher Ryan Colegate was named the New York-Penn League’s Pitcher of the Week for games played between August 8 and August 14. He was one of three Indians minor leaguers to be recognized with a weekly honor, joining first baseman Bobby Bradley and starting pitcher Luis Lugo of the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He is the first Scrapper to win such an award this season.
The only thing that could slow down the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the last week was Mother Nature, and she succeeded twice in doing so.
The Scrappers are playing their best baseball of the short season. They are 9-4 in August and riding a five-game winning streak. Coupled with a four-game streak earlier in the month, they have pulled into third place in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division with a 27-27 record, nine games in back of State College and 12 games away from being eliminated from the division crown. The week was won by taking two games at home against Batavia before wet grounds cancelled the finale. After winning the opener against Williamsport on Friday, Saturday’s game was washed out before the Scrappers took a doubleheader on Sunday.
After the All-Star break this week, Mahoning Valley will travel to Batavia for four games in three days starting Wednesday before returning to Niles for three with State College starting Saturday night.
In other news and notes from the Scrappers’ Scrapbook:
It has been a common theme throughout the Cleveland Indians farm system this season, so it should be no surprise that the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers will be well represented when the New York-Penn League plays its All-Star Game on August 16 from Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Six members of the Scrappers, including left-handers Juan Hillman and Tanner Tully, infielder Erlin Cerda, and outfielders Andrew Calica, Todd Isaacs, and Gabriel Mejia, were selected to the South team from the Mahoning Valley roster.
A good start to the month of August was negated for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, who were swept in three straight close contests against Hudson Valley on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
The week began better for the Scrappers, who salvaged their series at home against Williamsport with a 2-1 win last Tuesday before heading to West Virginia for three with the Black Bears. They swept the set with three one-run victories, but lost 4-2, 3-2, and 5-2 to Hudson Valley to spoil the four-game winning streak.
The Scrappers (22-27) return home on Tuesday for a six-game homestand with Batavia and Williamsport. They trail State College by 12.5 games in the Pinckney Division, but will look to gain a little ground while hoping to improve on an 11-12 home record this season.
In more news and notes from the Scrappers’ Scrapbook:
Mother Nature has been unkind to the young Mahoning Valley Scrappers this week. The Indians’ short-season affiliate has had three rainouts and a pair of doubleheaders in the last week because of the weather.
The Scrappers were set to play three with Connecticut on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, but had to settle for a Monday doubleheader and Tuesday’s finale. They swept the three games to push their winning streak to five straight. After Wednesday’s off day and Thursday’s rainout in Aberdeen, the Scrappers played their second doubleheader of the week, winning game one 7-1 before a 6-2 loss in the nightcap to end their six-game winning streak. Saturday’s matchup was similarly drowned out by rain.
Mahoning Valley (18-22) returns home Sunday for three with Williamsport before hitting the road for six straight against West Virginia and Hudson Valley. They have incredibly pulled within four games of the .500 mark and are eight and a half games in back of State College in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
In other news and notes from the Scrappers’ scrapbook: