Scrappers fall 3-2, lose fifth straight
NILES - After losing four straight, the Scrappers hoped a return to Eastwood Field would provide some much needed home-cooking. Despite a second straight strong start from Luis Dejesus , the Scrappers offense was unable to generate enough offense to give him a win as they lost 3-2 and dropped their record to 2-6 on the season.
Dejesus and Crosscutter southpaw Hoby Millner looked to build on solid first outings. In his first outing last Wednesday, Dejesus tossed five shutout innings and notched two strikeouts in a hard-luck no decision at home against the Jamestown Jammers. Milner hurled three shutout innings of his own in his first start.
Dejesus was, in a word, outstanding. He picked up right where he left off against Jamestown throwing six innings of one run ball. His lone run came by way of a Brian Pointer solo blast. Minus that blemish, Dejesus was rock solid.
“I felt real good tonight. I’m more relaxed than I was in Lake County. I got all my butterflies out up there,” said Dejesus of his start.
DeJesus had good command of his stuff, racking up eight strikeouts in his six innings, while walking none. His was able to keep Crosscutter hitters off balance all night with his off-speed pitches, getting six of his eight strikeout victims to go down whiffing. He was efficient as well, never going above 16 pitches in any of his innings.
“I was recoiling real bad my first outing," Dejesus said. "I came back and threw a bullpen and worked on following through with my whole body and using my legs more. I felt real good like I was using all my legs.”
“It’s a shame to waste his outing as he pitched a good game and he was strong right to the end,” manager Ted Kubiak said of the start. “He had a good changeup, a lot of fastballs, and a little breaking ball. He was aggressive and threw strikes, it’s no secret to the game.”
Despite his strong start, Dejesus was saddled with his second no-decision in as many starts. He exited the game with a 2-1 advantage, but it wasn not quite enough as rookie Cody Penny failed to hold the lead in the seventh.
The Scrapper offense continued to struggle early, failing to take advantage of a pair of two out walks issued by Milner in the first. They were able to break through in the third when a leadoff triple by Jairo Kelly set up the Scrappers with a prime scoring opportunity. After Tyler Naquin walked, catcher Charlie Valerio put the Scrappers on the board by way of a seeing eye single.
The Scrappers plated another run in the fourth when Aaron Siliga scored on an Erik Gonzalez RBI groundout. Gonzalez landed on second base after an errant throw sailed out of play, but was stranded there.
Despite the runs, the offense was unable to bust out of an early season slump. In getting swept over the weekend by the State College Spikes, the Scrapper offense managed only seven runs against the Spikes’ 19, and left a combined 21 runners on base. They looked rather lethargic again, winding up with only six hits while striking out eleven times. They looked impatient at the plate with runners in scoring position, going just 1-8 as a team while leaving ten on base total.
“You wanna win, but I don’t know if it’s frustrating,” Kubiak said. “We did a lot of good stuff at the plate."
The Scrappers made some noise in the ninth putting a pair of runners on base, but were unable to get the big hit, which is a continuing theme in the early going this season.
“It would be nice to win, but there was some good development that took place at the plate tonight with some guys. We’re working on a lot of stuff,” Kubiak said.
Crosscutter Geoff Broussard earned the win, with Jeb Stefan picking up the save. Cody Penny took the loss. The Scrappers will again look to snap their losing streak against the Crosscutters tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05.