Cutters rally in 9th to beat Scrappers
According to the old adage in baseball, the game isn’t over until the Fat Lady sings her song.
Sunday evening at Bowman Field, the Williamsport Crosscutters weren’t about to let her warm up her tonsils as they came roaring back in the bottom of the ninth inning to score three runs for a come-from-behind, 4-3 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, much to the delight of a Bingo Night crowd of 2,637.
“One thing we tell the guys every time is that you have to play all 27 outs,” Cutters manager Nelson Prada said. “The one good thing about tonight is that the guys never gave up. We were down by three runs in a game over at Auburn and came back with five to win the game, and today, they gave us a little break and we took advantage of it. We waited until the last inning, but the good thing is that we were able to score three and win the game.”
Here is how the frantic bottom of the ninth inning unfolded.
With Manuel Carmona on the bump for Mahoning Valley, Gabriel Lino singled to right. With Logan Pierce at the plate, Lino advanced to second on a wild pitch by Carmona.
Logan Pierce worked Carmona for a base on balls and on a wild pitch Lino moves up to third. Jairo Cardozo also walked, moving Pierce up to second to load the bases with Cutters and still nobody out.
Carmona breathed a sigh of relief when Justin Parr was called out on strikes, but that brought to the dish Gustavo Martinez.
Wasting no time, Martinez lined a single to right field, and when the Scrappers’ Juan Romero tried to made a shoestring effort of the line drive, the ball got by him, allowing Lino, Pierce and Cardozo to score the three runs for the Cutter victory.
The Scrappers drew first blood with two runs in the third inning.
After surviving a shaky first inning followed by a strong 1-2-3 second inning, Cutter starter Shane Martin ran into problems in the third when the Williamsport infield was unable to turn a double play.
Following the failed execution of the twin killing, Nellie Rodriguez and Josh McAdams stroked back-to-back singles to give the Scrappers a 2-0 lead.
“Out of sync is a good way to put it,” Martin said. “I guess I was pretty amped up and a little too anxious. As a result, I allowed my front shoulder to open up and that is why the ball was up early. After that, I sort of got in a groove with the exception of putting a couple of guys on by giving them free passes and they made me pay for it. I am just glad they picked me up because this was a good team win.”
Not to sit on the 2-0 lead, Romero pushed the Scrapper lead to 3-0 in the fourth when he sent the first offering from Martin over the left-field fence for a solo home run.
“He (Martin) pitched real good in the last two innings,” Prada said. “He is a guy who has been around the plate and tonight he was facing a club that is aggressive at the plate swinging the bat. Sometimes they rush things and sometimes it is because they are young kids playing at this level.”
After Martin and the Cutters surrendered the three runs to the Scrappers, the bullpen duo of Julio Reyes and Lino Martinez shut the Mahoning Valley batters down through the final four scoreless innings.
If there was one negative in the Cutters’ pitching department, it was putting opposing batters on base without them having to put the bat on the ball. During the last two games, Cutter pitchers have walked 11 Scrapper batters while also hitting another four.
“We have given up 40 walks in 105 innings and we have to get better with that,” Prada said. “At some point we need to get better by throwing more strikes. We tell the guys there are two ways to pitch. One is to get people out and the other is to try and strike people out. When you try to strike people out, you walk people, whereas when you just try to get people out, you are around the plate more. It is a process and any game at this level is a process, so as the season goes along, we are going to talk to the guys and try to make adjustments.”
After being held scoreless through the first five innings, the Cutters got their offense untracked in the sixth to score a run.
Green led off the inning by bouncing a long double off the center-field fence, and two outs later, he scored on a sharp single to right by Pierce.
“I hit it hard and I knew it was going to go over his head,” Green said. “With the wind blowing in, I knew it didn’t have a chance to go out. Pierce has been swinging the bat real well and he had a couple last night that he put a charge into, but they just died once they got out there.”
After his first two at-bats, Green went to the plate with the approach of cutting it loose.
“I was a little more selective during my first two at-bats,” he said. “They were giving me fastballs early so if they threw me a fastball in my zone I was going to swing at it.”