Archive for July, 2012

Scrappers Bats Ineffective In 5-1 Setback to Brooklyn


The Mahoning Valley Scrappers wrapped up a seven game homestand.  Brooklyn got the best of the host team riding the strong pitching performance of Rainy Lara.  Lara gave up one run in the first inning and his Cyclones buckled down to tame the Scrappers, 5-1.

The Scrappers got on the scoreboard in their half of the first inning.  Tyler Naquin slapped a double to left.  One out later, Charlie Valerio singled to plate a hustling Naquin.  The Indians first round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Naquin, finished the game with three of the Scrappers four hits.

The momentum shifted in the third.  Scrapper starter Luis Morel (below) caught a bad break when Eudy Pina broke for second and Scrapper shortstop Jairo Kelly went to cover second base on the steal attempt.  The vacancy Kelly left turned a routine double play ball into runners at first and second with nobody out.


Brandon Nimmo singled home Pina.  Nimmo had been killing the Scrappers the whole series.  With that hit, Nimmo was 8-14 in the series.  Jayce Boyd had an RBI single later in the inning to plate Nimmo that gave the Cyclones a 2-1 lead.

Morel did not get out of the fifth inning.  Brooklyn added a couple of unearned runs in the inning to make it a 4-1 game.   Robbie Aviles relieved Morel and gave up a run in the fifth.

The Scrappers struggled offensively after the first inning.  In fact, they did not get another hit until the sixth inning.  Rainy Lara settled in for Brooklyn and pitched into the seventh inning with a four run lead.  Lara struck out ten Scrappers in picking up the win.


The Scrappers head to the road for awhile in pursuit of league-leading Auburn before welcoming Williamsport to Eastwood Field on August 7th and 8th.

Catch Tim Pozsgai on AM-1570 for all of the action on the road.  If you haven’t had a chance to yet, treat yourself to a very unique and entertaining broadcast style.

Surprise Wrestler Added For Baseball Brawl III


Following this Sunday’s Scrapper game, the MCW rolls in for a postgame wrestling card. The card has become an annual tradition at Eastwood Field and this year’s schedule is loaded.  Watch the Matt Hardy video above for more details.

Kevin Bellew, the promoter for MCW is delivering serious talent for the 2012 card. Hardy will be joined by Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, and Carlito. All four of these wrestlers were main event status superstars in the WWE and none of the four are washed-up glory seekers, but rather still among the elite wrestlers in a crowded industry.

Bellew also guaranteed a surprise appearance by a current belt holder from one of the two televised promotions (WWE or TNA) to be at Baseball Brawl on Sunday.

“I can’t say who the mystery superstar is”, said Bellew via telephone.  “I can guarantee that the mystery superstar is a current champion and is on television every week.  He will be there (not a women’s champion) signing autographs and greeting fans in Niles on Sunday.”

The Scrappers give Bellew an allotted budget to work with each year.  Bellew then contacts stars that would draw, sometimes risking his own money over the budget amount, to guarantee the fans will enjoy the show filled with some recognizable names.

“We probably could have just used Matt Hardy and any one of the other three and it would have drawn”, said Bellew.  “By using all four superstars, plus a confirmed huge name as a mystery guest, we are proving to everyone that the commitment is strong to provide the best and most entertaining lineup we can.”

The wrestlers will greet fans and sign autographs throughout the day before the ring will be set up on the infield for the wrestling show.  This is the day to be there!  Call the Scrappers box office at  330-505-0000 for VIP and ticket information.

Should be a great day, as it is also Luke Holko day.  Luke will be in attendance, as will Ben Carlson.  Holko and family and Carlson have remained in contact, which is another story worth hearing.  All parties involved are the best kind of people created.

Don’t miss a Sunday at Eastwood Field that will offer something for everyone and an unsolved mystery to boot!


Scrappers Squeeze Out Rain Shortened Win Over Staten Island


The weather has been miserable, and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and Staten Island Yankees have probably played more pinochle than baseball in the last 48 hours.

On Friday, a scheduled doubleheader was almost halfway completed when Mother Nature decided the corn needed more water.  The Scrappers were ahead, 5-3,  in the seventh when play was delayed.  The game would never resume and the result was a win for the Scrappers to push to 20-18 on the season.

Jake Sisco picked up his first professional win for Mahoning Valley throwing 5-2/3 innings and surrendering three earned runs off of seven hits.  Sisco has exited plenty of games with leads only to watch the bullpen buckle to prevent him of getting into the win column.


Offensively, Mahoning Valley put all the runs they would need on the board in their half of the second inning.   With one out, Evan Frazar singled.  Jeremy Lucas followed with a walk.

Juan Romero (above) reached on an infield single to load the bases.  Robel Garcia then doubled home both Frazar and Lucas.  Hunter Jones followed with a single to plate Romero and Garcia.

The Scrappers never trailed.

Brooklyn now comes in tomorrow for three games starting with Saturday’s scheduled 7:05 start.

Robel Garcia Walk-Off Hero For Scrappers In 2-1 Win


Two things happened for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Sunday in a 2-1 win over the Jamestown Jammers.  First off, situational hitting has been an issue at times this year, but Robel Garcia hit a full-count pitch to plate Erik Gonzalez with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Scrappers to a victory.

The second good thing that happened was that the bullpen kept a tie game knotted as Rafael Homblert picked up his first win in relief of Luis DeJesus.

DeJesus has been dominant and has pitched well in every start.  Homblert, on the other hand, seems to be turning a corner from where he had been before this week started.  He picked up a save earlier in the week and nabbed a win in this game.  Prior to the good results on Sunday, Homblert’s ERA was higher than three gallons of gas on the turnpike.


Robbie Aviles and Michael Peoples combined to throw two innings of scoreless relief before Homblert pitched the final two innings.

Tyler Naquin started the fourth inning with a hustle double and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Joe Sever (top photo) poked a single to right to knock Naquin in and tie the game at 1-1.

The game would stay deadlocked until the bottom of the ninth.  Depending on how you look at it, the hitters were struggling, or the pitching was outstanding.  This result was a combination of both as the Scrappers stranded eight men on base.

The Scrappers are headed East to Williamsport for a pair before returning home to host Staten Island Yankees on Wednesday.

Giuriceo Suffers First Professional Loss In Weird Decision


Although he would never make excuses or complain about losing a decision, the scores of the judges cards indicate that Jake Giuriceo (16-1) was dominated by Michael Clark (43-7) in Friday’s eight round fight in Columbus.

The judges scores at the end of the fight were 80-70, 76-76, and 79-72, a wide discrepancy.  Before the fightGiuriceo said he feels comfortable fighting close to home and this result will do nothing to inspire him to fight away from home.

Clark and Giuriceo bumped heads early in the first round opening a cut under The Bull’s right eye.  Later in the round, Giuriceo was hit with a borderline rabbit punch between his ear and the back of his head.

“It was scored a knockdown, but I clearly remember everything and wasn’t hurt”, said Giuriceo.  “Give him [Clark] credit though, he won the fight.  I knew before the eighth round started that I would probably need to score a knockout to win.”

Tasting defeat for the first time as a professional, Giuriceo remained spiritually focused and thankful for what he has.

“I’m all good”, said Giuriceo.  The Lords will was done.  I gave it my all and honored Him with my actions.  I’m honestly good.”


Giuriceo will keep his nose to the grindstone and continue competing.  The hunt for a promoter will also continue.  If Giuriceo can land a decent promoter, the opportunities should increase, despite the loss.  However, in our Catch 22 world, a promoter is less likely to pursue a fighter after a loss.

Giuriceo felt that he had Clark hurt in the third round.

“I caught him with some good shots and thought I scored well enough to win the second, third, and fourth rounds”, stated Giuriceo.  “With that many fights under his belt, he used his ring generalship and experience to escape.”

Giuriceo To Take Next Step Saturday


On Thursday, Jake Giuriceo (16-0) hovered around Keith Burnside‘s new gym trying to cut weight.  With a sweatsuit zipped up to the neck and covered in sweat, he smiled and said I could interview him while he jumped rope.  I waited.  Making 140 is no easy task for these fighters.

Burnside, getting ready to christen his new gym in Struthers, kept tinkering with the scale to ensure it would be reading accurately.  Meanwhile, a heavyweight named Brandon Winner, who also trains for Burnside started to rib Giuriceo about weight while he was doing all he could to sweat out the extra half of a pound that needed to go away.

“Man, you need top get serious about this.  If you can’t be serious about it, you might as well just stay home and quit wasting your time”, said Giuriceo.  “You need to decide whether or not you want to keep eating and drinking, or you want to lose weight and be committed to this sport, because you are a joke at that weight.”

A few moments later, typical good-hearted Giuriceo peeked through with, “I am just telling you that out of love, to help you get focused, you need to get serious, I made the choice to do away with the booze and the food to get serious.”


Late Friday, I received word that Giuriceo succeeded in making the weight, checking in at 140.  His opponent, Michael Clark (42-7) tipped the scales at 140.5.  This fight offers new challenges for Giuriceo.

For starters, he is fighting in Columbus, a market yet to be exposed to The Bull.  According to Giuriceo’s manager, Joe Corvino, the Campbell native needs to learn how to win outside of his own backyard and the fight will serve as a good experience in that regard.

Giuriceo, who recently got married, said that the marriage has been another in a long string of blessings in his life that spiritually motivates him.

“I am married now, so I have another reason to fight for something”, said Giuriceo.  “I could not be happier or more motivated than I am right now.”


“I expect a tough fight”, said Giuriceo.  “You don’t win 42 fights by not being a good boxer, and he is going to be a good challenge.  I worked hard this camp on my power, the way I throw my punches. I was unhappy my last fight even though I was blessed to come away with a win, but my punches did not feel right.”

Results will be posted here once I get them.  Good Luck Jake!

Scrappers Split Pair In Jamestown


The Mahoning Valley Scrappers split a pair of games with Jamestown on Friday.  The first game was a continuation of Thursday’s rain-halted contest.  Leading 6-3 in the continuation game, the bullpen got rocked for six runs in the eighth and the Jammers took the first game, 9-7.

Evan Frazar hit a grand slam before the rain came, but when play resumed on Friday, the skies may have cleared, but the Scrapper bullpen remained cloudy.

In the Scrapper half of the sixth, Joe Wendle doubled home Robel Garcia to push the advantage to 7-3.  Jack Wagoner (1-3) surrendered the final three runs to take the loss for the Scrappers.


In the second game, the bullpen was able to preserve a spectacular performance by Scrapper starter, Jacob Lee.  All Lee did was throw five perfect innings, while tallying five strikeouts.  The Scrappers ended up on the right end of a 2-1 verdict.

Juan Romero hit his sixth homer of the season, a two-run bomb to center.  Those two runs in the second would prove to be enough run support for Lee.

Rafael Homblert worked the seventh inning to notch his first career save for Mahoning Valley.

The Scrappers return home for a two-game set with the same Jamestown Jammers on Saturday and Sunday at Eastwood Field.  First pitch is at 7, and the Sunday game will start at 5.

Scrappers Bullpen Hiccups But Offense Pulls Out Win


In a race, the way you finish overshadows the way you start in most cases.  Nobody remembers, or for that matter, cares who was winning at the halfway point.  For the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 2012 has been that kind of race.  The offense bailed out the bullpen in a big way as the Scrappers got by the State College Spikes, 7-3.

The above analogy does not fully orchestrate how good the Scrappers starting pitching has been and how (politely) ineffective the bullpen has been.  Granted, the Scrappers starting pitching rotation has been helped and hurt as a result of run support, but the bullpen has been consistently struggling.  Losing Enosil Tejeda and Luis Head to Lake County should make it tougher yet to maintain leads.

“Merritt had a good start tonight and we couldn’t hold it for him”, said Scrapper Manager Ted Kubiak.  “We are shuffling guys into different roles in the bullpen and trying different combinations of things.  As you can see, this team fights back.”

The Scrappers scored the first run of the game in the second inning when Tyler Naquin singled home Jairo Kelly.  Naquin’s status coming into the game was unknown as he was hit on the elbow on the recent roadtrip.  No ill effects on that hit or the diving sixth inning catch he made in center.


Ryan Merritt (above) had perhaps his best start as a Scrapper.  In the seven innings Merritt pitched, he only walked one Spikes hitter and struck out five.  He left the game with a 3-1 lead, and would be assured a win if the bullpen could nail it down.

Charlie Valerio (below) did his part to help Merritt earn a win in launching a towering bomb to center field that found its way out to give Mahoning Valley  a 2-0 lead.

“I was sitting on a fastball when it was two balls and no strikes”, said Valerio.  “I guessed good and it got out of the park.”

In the sixth, Merritt made a mistake and Barrett Barnes made him pay with a homer to left field.

The Scrappers scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 3-1.  Naquin walked and then scored on a Joey Wendle double.


The Scrapper bullpen hit the mound to start the eighth inning.  James Stokes walked the first two Spikes he faced and then threw a sac bunt attempt that he fielded and threw wide of the third baseman, Wendle, to load the bases with nobody out.

The Scrappers then caught a break when Barnes hit what looked to be a double play ball.  The Scrappers got the out at second but the throw was wide at first.  The umpires ruled it was an out-of-the-baseline intentional slide and gave the Scrappers two outs with no runs because everyone was sent back.

Stokes got off the hook with the break.  Enter Jacob Lee.  First batter, 2-2 pitch, single up the middle, tie game, implosion – yet again.  Yet Lee gets the gift win as the Scrapper offense roared in the eighth.

The Scrapper offense, in the eighth, fought back as Robel Garcia singled.  Kelly tried to bunt Garcia over and Spikes relief pitcher Jordan Cooper fielded the ball and flung it about three feet over Jordaneli Carvajal‘s head and into right field.  Garcia scored on the play and Kelly hustled all the way to third.  Naquin was then plucked, and Wendle got his second hit to drive Kelly in and give the Scrappers a 5-3 lead.

With two outs in the eighth,  Aaron Siliga singled home Naquin and Wendle to make it 7-3 to close out the scoring.

Popo Salinas Ready For Whatever Is Next


Popo Salinas is headed for bigger roads soon, real soon.  The Youngstown native and future East High School senior had a tough opponent in Lucian Clinkscale, but he was able to still impress the standing room only crowd at the Saxon Club with a convincing first round knockout.

Salinas entered the ring in a full camo outfit (below), and fought like he was in a war.  Salinas knocked Clinkscale down three times in the first round.  The third time, right at the three-minute mark, would end the fight.

“Lucian Clinkscale has probably fought the top four or five kids in the country, and he has never been stopped like this”, said Jack Loew.  “For a young 17-year old to come in here and knock him out cold says a lot not only about his strength, but where he will be in this sport very soon.”


Salinas is headed to Kansas City to compete in the Ringside National Tournament later this year.  If this fight was a tune-up, Salinas ran great.

Legendary Youngstown former champion, Greg Richardson, is Clinkscale’s uncle.  Richardson, who I have gotten to know better as a teammate in a nine-ball league, sat with us at ringside for the quick win.  After the first knockdown, Richardson leaned over and quietly whispered, “Man, this Salinas kid is good, it’s gonna be a long night for my nephew.”

Chronologically, Richardson could not have been any more off as the fight only went three minutes.


“It was a great night”, said Salinas.  “I really feel good right now and tonight makes me proud of how working hard at the gym is paying off.  I will continue to work as hard as I can to get ready for the Ringside Tournament and I will do my best to make Youngstown proud.”

Salinas has developed quite a following for a 17-year old amateur.  The crowd reacted almost every time he landed something and the three-minute battle provided plenty of electricity.

If Loew had his way, Salinas would be on HBO next week.  “The kid hits harder than most 30-year olds, he is ready to face men as he makes the transition to manhood.  His skills are so well developed and I can’t wait to see what his limits really are.”

5th Annual Bob Roth Amateur Boxing Show A Hit


The Saxon Club was the setting for the 5th Annual Bob Roth Amateur Boxing ShowJack Loew promotes the show in honor of Roth who Loew claims, “did more than anyone could ever imagine” for the Youngstown boxing scene.  A good turnout of people came to the event which raises money for Loew to pay entrance fees and transportation costs to amateur national tournaments.

This year, Loew will take Popo Salinas, Lavelle Hadley, and Derrick Eggleston to Kansas City, Missouri to compete in the Ringside National Tournament later this year.

“Fighting against graduations, weddings, and vacations, I am really happy to pull in a standing-room only crowd in the middle of the Summer”, said Loew.


One of the three headed to Kansas City, Derrick Eggleston, has not been boxing very long, this was only his second fight, but he looked like a seasoned veteran for the majority of his fight.  Eggleston (below, right) is grateful for the opportunity to compete in the National tournament in just a few weeks.

“It’s going to be a good experience going to Kansas City, if I do well, we will talk it over and maybe turn pro”, said Eggleston.  “I’m going to push myself in the gym to make a statement at that tournament, to win the whole thing.”

“Lavelle [Hadley] is a boxer, he can fight.  We just have to eliminate some of his lazy tendencies.  Derrick [Eggleston] is raw and strong and doesn’t look like a kid who has only had one fight, I think he will do fine in the novice division”, remarked Loew.


The results of the undercard were as follows:

133 – Jimez Mire (Cleveland) stopped Chris Miller (SSBC) TKO 3rd round

71  – Derrick King (Cleveland) def. Chanze Kelly (SSBC) decision

80 – Christian Archer (Cleveland) def. Davion Daniels (SSBC) decision

152 – Darien Wilder (Cleveland) def. John Gregory (SSBC) decision

Sup Hvy – Shawn Edge (Youngstown) def. John McNeil (Cleveland) decision

152 – Cody Luckey (SSBC) def. Devon Johnson (Cleveland) decision

183 – Derrick Eggleston (SSBC) def. Quincy Mitchell (Cleveland) decision

152 –  Ronnie Hamayle (SSBC) def. Dan Rozenburger (Burnside) decision

152 – Lavelle Hadley (SSBC) def. Miguel Acevado (Youngstown) decision