Cutters rout Scrappers
WILLIAMSPORT — Out of the Pinckney Division championship picture, Williamsport found itself playing the role of spoiler on Sunday night.
Combining strong pitching with timely hitting, the Cutters downed division-leading Mahoning Valley, 11-0, before 1,968 fans at Bowman Field.
“Tonight was obviously the best outing of the year for (Ethan) Lindow. He was elated when he came off the field,” said Cutter manager Pat Borders. “It was really good at this point of the season to see him use his fastball, locate it the way he did and it seemed to have a little extra life on it. You wouldn’t think that would happen at this point of the season. It actually seemed to be better than it was at the beginning of the season.”
The game featured a pitcher’s duel between Mahoning Valley’s Shane McCarthy and Williamsport’s Ethan Lindow. McCarthy took the loss while Lindow picked up the win.
McCarthy only lasted four innings, allowing the one run on just one hit. He walked two and struck out four.
Lindow worked six innings, not allowing a run while scattering three hits. The lefty did not issue a single walk while striking out nine.
“That was my best effort of the year, for sure,” said Lindow. “It was a really good night, especially to go out there and feel that fresh this late in the season.”
Lindow was in command of things for most of his six innings.
“My fastball was my best pitch tonight. It had really good life to it and it really felt good coming out of my hand,” he said. “I lost a little bit of rhythm that caused me to throw some 3-2 counts, but I worked through them, got some strikeouts and no walks. That was the big thing.”
The Cutters broke the scoreless game open in the third with a little two-out spark. Matt Kroon and Jonathan Guzman worked McCarthy for back-to-back free passes and Ben Aklinski chased Kroon across the dish with an RBI single to right.
Up 1-0, the Cutters scored three runs in the fifth inning to extend their lead.
Lenin Rodriguez smacked a double off the boards in left field, went to third on a single by Kroon and scored when Jonathan Guzman beat out a bunt for an RBI single.
Scrapper reliever Eli Lingos gave up a walk to Aklinski, and Alec Bohm brought both Guzman and Aklinski home with a 2-run triple into the gap in right-center.
“I guess that might be a case of the evolution of the game at this level,” said Borders. “We have been playing well on offense and our pitching has been good as well. Our pitching and hitting numbers are improving and hopefully that means we are inching toward our goal in those areas.”
Making sure they had enough, the Cutters combined three hit batters and two walks with a grand slam by Matt Kroon to run their total to ten runs. The blast was Kroon’s second home run of the season and the grand slam was the first for the Cutters since the 2015 season.
“I was seeing the ball well and tonight was just a good hitting night for us,” said Kroon. “We were able to score a lot of runs and put a lot of hits up there as well. Along with a lot of good pitching tonight it was a lot of fun for us.”
Kroon said that watching the guys in front of him was important to his approach.
“Watching the guys ahead of you is how you build your plan as to how you are going to attack a certain pitcher,” said Kroon. “A lot of the guys in front me had some real good long at-bats and that gave us a good chance to see a lot of pitches. The pitch I hit for the home run was a fastball and it really felt great coming off the bat.”
The Cutters added one final run in the eighth on a triple by Aklinski and an RBI single by Bohm.
Williamsport plays Mahoning Valley tonight for the second game of the three-game series.