Captains baseball is back as the Class-A Lake County squad opened the 2017 season on the road against the Dayton Dragons. While Mother Nature prevailed in the suspended opener, the Captains would win the continuation of the game, 9-1, the following day, giving new manager Larry Day his first career managerial win.
Day returned to the Captains after spending last season working as the hitting coach at High-A Lynchburg for Mark Budzinski, another former Captains skipper. He took over for Tony Masolino, who moved into Budzinski’s vacant seat with the Hillcats when he was moved up to lead the Double-A Akron RubberDucks.
Day is quite familar with the Lake County organization already, having previously worked as the Captains’ hitting coach in 2015.
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 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.
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: