Archive for the ‘Scrappers’ Category
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers opened their 15th season of existence on Monday night at Eastwood Field. The Jamestown Jammers didn’t give the Scrappers much to celebrate in handing the home team a 5-0 setback in front of a good crowd of 5,531.
Scrapper starter Luis Lugo (below) pitched five innings scattering five hits, one of them a home rub to Dan Collins to start the second inning. That run would be all that Lugo would yield, yet exited the game trailing 1-0.
The Scrappers had a chance to hit the scoreboard in the third inning with runners at first and third with nobody out. Jamestown starter Isaac Sanchez was able to wiggle out of the inning without giving up a run. Sanchez struck out Juan Romero for the first out. Scrapper leadoff hitter, Tyler Booth then tried to lay down a squeeze bunt that resulted in an inning-ending double play as Martin Cervenka was thrown out at home after starting the inning with a double (top photo).
Jamestown put together a productive seventh inning. Jin-De Jhang reached when Scrapper left fielder, Josh McAdams, dropped a fly ball. Jhang advanced to second on a wild pitch by Scrapper reliever James Stokes. Jhang later scored on a clean single to center by Edwin Espinal to make it 2-0 Jammers. The Scrappers were fortunate to escape the seventh giving up just the single, unearned run.
In the bottom of the seventh, Juan Herrera doubled to start the frame. He would advance to third on McAdams infield single. Ryan Battaglia drew a walk to load the bases. Robel Garcia popped out to third for the first out. Battaglia was then picked off of first base by the Jammers catcher Jhang. Cervenka struck out to end the inning.
Joshua Nervis relieved Stokes for the Scrappers in the eighth inning and Rafael Homblert threw the ninth.
Elvis Escobar had three singles to lead the Jammers 14-hit attack. In the eighth inning, he reached on his third single. He would score on a double by Harold Ramirez. The Jammers went ahead 4-0 when Jhang singled home Ramirez. Jamestown would tack on another in the ninth to round out the scoring.
The Scrappers (0-1) and Jammers (1-0) will play Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Eastwood Field to complete the season-opening three game set.
As a new year of Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball gets ready to move forward each season, a whole new cast of characters appears, usually in the form of players. Minor League Baseball is the melting pot of sports. There are plenty of Latino prospects mixed with the Americans. There is an Australian catcher – it is the usual array of language and customs being assimilated in the Youngstown area.
Scrappers Manager Ted Kubiak (above) has some additional pieces of the puzzle to assemble this season. Last years hitting and pitching coaches, Tony Manzilino and Greg Hibbard, have been reassigned by the Indians organization. Enter Shaun Larkin and Scott Erickson as the new hitting and pitching coaches.
Erickson spent last season at the AA level for the Indians in Carolina. Erickson was a very successful big league pitcher who threw for 15 years. He came up with the Minnesota Twins, and later pitched for the Baltimore Orioles. He has a World Series title and a wealth of experience to offer the Scrappers.
“I am happy to be here”, said Erickson. ”This is going to be a little different in the sense that when I was at Double A last season, the pitchers thought they were good enough to be that high. Obviously, they aren’t in the majors yet, so they needed some work. At this level, it is going to be more of a teaching process. Once we analyze what the pitchers are good with, we can focus on their weaknesses and make them better.”
“Scott is a great addition to the staff”, said Kubiak. ”He is a great pitching coach and we are lucky to have him here. He will be a great supervisor of our pitching staff this season and I think the players will benefit from what he will offer.”
Shaun Larkin is no stranger to Eastwood Field. Larkin was a Scrapper and played here in 2002. This will be his first shot at coaching and he is happy that it is in a familiar surrounding.
“Ted didn’t know it was me on the phone”, recalled Larkin. ”I called to let him know that the Indians organization was offering me a chance, and he was very surprised, but warm to the idea. He is a great manager and I got to play for him here in 2002.”
“Coach Larkin will do well with us”, declared Kubiak. ”He is a positive presence and has already offered good input through our meetings. He will do just fine.”
So Kubiak faces all of the changes with open arms and knows that this team will be exciting.
“They will play hard, they will not showboat, and will want to win”, said Kubiak.
With a new season coming fast, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers are making a push to get some odds and ends squared away. One of the big challenges every season is finding host families to house players.
If you were to agree to be a host family, you would receive complementary tickets to each home game, discounts on team merchandise and more. Scrappers host families share their home with a Scrappers player from June through mid-September. The schedule of only 38 home games, practice, and other player obligations result in the player spending minimal time in the host family home. Families wishing to be considered for the host family program are required to fill out a questionnaire.
The Scrappers are also holding tryouts to sing the National Anthem. The tryout date is this Wednesday, May 29th, between 5:30-7:30 p.m. Anyone is able to try out and must sing the entire National Anthem to a panel of judges. The contest is open to instrumentalists, as well as vocalists, of all ages. If selected, the successful auditioner will be contacted by the Scrappers and assigned a date.
If you would like more information about becoming a host family or auditioning to sing the National Anthem, please contact the Scrappers at (330) 505-0000 or email at email@example.com.
In the Winter of 2008, I had to have a hip replacement. The down time I had to endure meant a lot of sitting around with nothing to do except watch reruns of Two And A Half Men and a bunch of game shows.
A friend of mine, Ethan Jaynes, who operated a blog called NESW sports, asked me to write a couple of posts. When those stories did well, Jaynes hooked me up with the knowledge I would need to run my own site, Paneech.com.
In the time since, I have made a bunch of good friends and probably a few enemies too.
Fast forward to September of 2012. I am working a 40-hour-a-week job, and still trying to keep up with this website. Sometimes the posts seem scant, but that is because of the time constraints I have to deal with.
On of the biggest events I was lucky enough to cover was the dedication of Dave Grohl Boulevard in Warren. I was interviewing Jen Campbell, the organizer of the event, in a side building as warm-up bands were wailing away outside.
Suddenly, on the third question of the interview, the door opens, and it is Dave Grohl. He looks at us, the only two people in the room, and asks, “Am I early?”
Campbell had to run and gather some folks which left me solo with Grohl, who offered me a Budweiser. We talked about everything from the steel industry to Wedgewood Pizza, to Kurt Cobain, to how often he sneaks back to this area to visit family.
It was the biggest, ‘right place at the right time’, moment in my life.
I have caught some good breaks to gain access. My first real coverage was of the Youngstown Thunder Arena Football team. Those games were a lot of fun and I was able to develop my first player profile interviews while I was there. Thanks to Anthony Farris for a chance.
The next break to fall into my lap was the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Marc Means and Dave Smith, the GM at the time, were instrumental in getting me the trial year of credentials. The Scrappers, now functioning on the watch of Jordan Taylor, are fun because of the themes, the wrestling, the fireworks, and the personalities you meet who deal with baseball as a way of life every day.
Youngstown State University is something I never thought I would want to cover. Too much stuff going on. I wanted to give football a shot, so for the 2009 season, Jon Heacocks’s last, Trevor Parks gave me that chance. Call it good timing because nobody but WFMJ and Pete Mollica cared about the football program which seemed to be spiraling negatively.
I took a real liking to the way that the YSU people do things. There were not too many media people who bet Jerry Slocum would still be around. I got to know Slocum a little better than some and am glad he has found his niche here.
Covering Cindy Martin was tough because when a team goes 0-30, it is hard to ask many questions with positive answers. Bob Boldon and his staff have picked up the slack in a big way and made that program fun.
When Ron Strollo hired Eric Wolford for the 2010 season, he made the best possible choice for the university to rekindle a program known for its strong tradition. Strollo has been fantastic and has seemed to make all of the right moves in the past couple of years.
Wolford is destined for bigger things. I do not know how long he will be here, hopefully until he retires, but he makes no bones about being an SEC guy and by getting all of the good experience as a head coach here, Wolford will make a jump to a D-I school within the next few years.
Kelly Pavlik was getting recognition for beating Jermain Taylor a couple of times when I got to sit with him and chat. Still active and back on the rise, The Ghost has provided some huge moments for this site. Everything from title defenses to a bitter separation with Jack Loew, and no mention of foul play or substance abuse here. No reason to.
Jake Giuriceo seems to be the next thing to emerge as a televised boxer from Youngstown. This kid is so laid back, so spiritual, and so focused, that anyone who talks with him would be hard-pressed not to root for him.
As the website continues to progress, I remain focused on trying to be entertaining and informative without the demise factor. There is enough positive in the Youngstown area to avoid all of the negative.
So to Larry Holmes, the Youngstown Phantoms, 38 Special, Ron Stevens, and Pete Rose. Thanks for the roles you have played here at Paneech.com!
As the Mahoning Valley Scrappers season comes to a close, a couple of players were moved to Lake County for the playoff push. Joe Wendle (above) and Tyler Naquin will join Charlie Valerio, who was promoted last week.
Wendle was probably the most consistent Scrapper at the plate this season. In 61 games, he compiled a .327 batting average and had four home runs. Wendle also showed defensive versatility being jockeyed between second and third base all season.
Naquin had recently played in three games, his first action since hurting his back and being sidelined since August 2nd. The Indians #1 Draft Pick of 2012 showed off a great arm while manning CF and developed good plate discipline before the injury forced him out of action for a month.
With the final series being played at State College, an interesting note was that the Pirates short season affiliate had Starling Marte on a rehab assignment before he rejoins Pittsburgh later this week.
This space is usually devoted to a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game summary. However, with this being my last trip to Eastwood Field, I decided to shift gears and do a season summary complete with comments from the GM, Jordan Taylor. No worries, game updates and summary will be tied in!
The 2012 version of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers has been marked with some great individual efforts and some unforeseen disappointments. On the player end of the spectrum, the team lacked a couple of pieces of the puzzle to get over the top. Among those who excelled and have a good shot at a future playing baseball in the bigs were Joe Wendle, Charlie Valerio, Joe Sever, Tyler Naquin, Luis DeJesus, and Jacob Lee. These guys were the most consistent contributors on the field. Much hyped prospect Dorssys Paulino, who on Thursday was named the All-Star shortstop for the Arizona League, has not been around long enough to be included, but will contribute in the future.
Jairo Kelly, Robel Garcia, and the bullpen were the biggest disappointments. Kelly, who recently was sent to Arizona, struck out 68 times before being shipped out. The bullpen blew several quality starts for Scrapper starters and has only become effective in the last three weeks.
The coach of the Scrappers, Ted Kubiak, may have been a bigger disappointment than any of the players this season. Respectfully, Kubiak seemed tired, fed up with the youthful enthusiasm of his team, and just looked out of sorts sometimes. The casual observer could tell he was not happy being in Youngstown. Kubiak is the definition of a meat and potatoes, no-nonsense coach. He obviously knows the game of baseball to be where he is professionally, but needs to refine his people skills a bit.
From a business standpoint, Jordan Taylor and the Scrappers office staff did an outstanding job. The Scrappers averaged 3,055 fans per game, a new high since the team started playing at Eastwood Field in 1999. The staff also had to deal with hosting the 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star Game and put on a fantastic spectacle for this area to be proud of.
Here were some comments from Taylor:
On The 2012 Season: “I thought things went really well. I feel like everything that we could control, we did a really good job with. We were one of the few teams in the Penn League who had an upswing in attendance. Considering some of the bad luck we had, mostly with the weather, we are really proud about the increase. I couldn’t have been happier with the All-Star game and surrounding events.”
On Promotions: “Obviously, we aways do really well with the wrestling promotion. Some of the traditional promotions, like Buck Night, are really our bread and butter. The soap star promotion is successful like the wrestling promotion in the sense that the fans get an experience. Some of the fringe promotions, like 50′s night, don’t usually do as well as we would hope, but they are more for the entertainment factor rather than trying to draw people in. I’m excited about Zombie Survival Night, where we pay tribute to some of the cult classics and will have employees running around in zombie makeup and attire.”
(Game Update) Fourth inning and Estarlin Martinez hits what might be the longest home run in Scrappers history. Tie game, 4-4.
On The Air: “Tim Pozsgai was great for us this year. It is my hope that we will keep Tim with us next year. Usually the radio job is a year-to-year thing and traditionally a seasonal stepping stone type thing. I would put Tim up against anyone that we have had here as a former baseball player and the learning perspective he had. He also learned a lot from Tom Hamilton. My hope would definitely be to keep him.”
On The Field And Condition: ”Matt Rollins was above and beyond this season. It was not just us, it was the visiting teams commenting on the shape the field was in. Because of the weather, we easily could have lost a few more games this year, but due to his ability to forecast the weather and be on top of things, but also once the weather hit to deal with it effectively.”
So on paper, 2012 was not the best season in Scrappers baseball history, but it was filled with memorable moments, franchise firsts, and milestones.
Game Summary: Sever hits a three-run triple in the eighth, the improving bullpen comes through and holds off Auburn, Scrappers win!
Batavia completed a three-game sweep of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Wednesday night with a 6-2 win. Two Penn-League All-Star pitchers started the game – Jacob Lee for the Scrappers and Tyler Melling for the Muckdogs, in what would have been billed as a classic pitcher’s duel.
The offenses did away with the whole pitching dominance theory and combined to put up seven runs in the first three innings.
Batavia scored three in the first and two more in the third to nab a 5-0 lead. Triples by Steve Ramos and Patrick Wisdom off of Lee led to Batavia runs.
Mahoning Valley pushed back in the bottom of the third. Erik Gonzalez reached via error and two outs later, Joe Wendle singled. Joe Sever (below) knocked both Scrappers in to make it a 5-2 game.
Lee would finish the third inning for the Scrappers. Geoffrey Davenport took over and struck out the side in the fourth looking really sharp. He also struck out two of three in the fifth. Davenport ended up throwing 3 – 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in his best appearance to date.
Meanwhile, the Scrapper offense continued to sputter.The Scrappers would finish the game with four hits, Wendle with two of them.
Defensively, Hunter Jones may have made the catch of the year. Jacob Wilson hit a ball into the right-centerfield gap in the top of the ninth inning. Jones came streaking to his right and dove catching a ball that looked to be past him with full-body extension.
Unfortunately, the winner of a baseball game is the team that scores the most runs. The pattern lately has been that the Scrappers are on the wrong end of that spectrum.
As 2012 winds down, individual performances and efforts may overshadow team accomplishments. In Mahoning Valley’s case, there are still plenty of good prospects on the team, and someone here can still impact the Indians organization in the future.
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are winding down 2012 with a final home stand. The series against Batavia was delayed a day due to inclement weather, so two games of the seven inning variety would be squeezed into Tuesday. Sometimes the rain would be welcome, but on Tuesday, no such luck, twice.
In the first game, the Scrappers got beat 6-2. Jake Sisco took the loss for the Scrappers. Highly touted Indians prospect, Dorssys Paulino (above), made his home debut a memorable one with a couple of hits. Joe Wendle and Evan Frazar also chipped in with two hits each.
Reggie Williams provided the big blow in the fourth inning when he connected for his first home run of the season off of Sisco. The bomb Williams hit made it 4-2 and the Muckdogs never looked back.
Joe Cuda picked up the victory in game one for Batavia. Cuda pitched five innings and scattered eight hits, walking none and striking out five. With the win, Cuda improved to 7-1.
In the second game, Luis DeJesus pitched well for the Scrappers, and so did Muckdog starter Ben O’Shea. Both starters put up zeroes through five innings. In the sixth with one mighty swing of the bat, Danny Stienstra untied the game with a solo shot to left. That was all it would take for the seven inning, 1-0, Batavia win.
After the game, Scrapper Charlie Valerio was promoted to Lake County. Valerio compiled a good season offensively for the Scrappers finishing up with five home runs, 35 RBI’s in 53 games, and showed good defensive versatility at first and behind the plate. Valerio has leader potential and was respected by his coaches and teammates as a spark plug.
Good luck Charlie!
The Scrappers and Muckdogs meet again on Wednesday at Eastwood Field.
Tyler Naquin was chosen first by the Cleveland Indians in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. Naquin excelled at Texas A & M and earned the distinction to be chosen so high. A humble student of the game, Naquin always signs autographs whether he had an 0-5 night or hit well. His maturity and his poise may be his greatest asset at this early level of his career, but what seems to make him special is how humble he remains.
Paneech: Playing at Texas A & M, did you develop a way to communicate with Spanish-speaking teammates that may help you converse with the Scrappers who don’t speak good English?
Naquin: To be honest, we only had one Domincan and one Spanish kid on my team, so I really wasn’t around it. At College Station, there are a lot of students but I wasn’t around that problem much. Here, you start understanding what they are saying to you and find ways. The communication has not been as big of a problem as I thought it may have been.
Paneech: From personal observance, I see national separation, the Dominicans kind of stick together and the college players stick together. Is this something that you think goes away after a couple of years of being so tightly intertwined?
Naquin: I believe it get easier. We are starting to understand each other and there is effort on both sides to close that gap. They want to learn our language and we want to learn as much as we can about their language. We are coaching and teaching each other as much as we can.
Paneech: I noticed in your last few games, a real effort to hit the ball into left field, not an easy task for a left-handed batter. Is that something the Indians are asking you to get better with or are you just taking an outside pitch that way?
Naquin: I just hit what I am given. If they keep pitching me outside, I will keep taking the ball to left. If they want to come in, I can pull it, but I have been seeing a lot of outside pitches. Pitchers like to live on the outside corner, but I like pitches from the middle of the plate out.
Paneech: I have seen you throw out a couple of runners at home plate. Is your arm your best attribute as a pro so far?
Naquin: I try to show it when I can, but I think that hitting is still my best quality. It definitely helps swing the momentum and you could win a game by a run because of a good defensive play. It is something I take a lot of pride in, trying to throw the ball long, hard, and flat.
Paneech: You are very close with your family. How hard is it to be divided from that lifestyle you grew up with?
Naquin: It is tough in a way, but my love for my family and my girlfriend are unconditional. They have all made their way up here when they could. At first, it is odd, but I know that they will all be home waiting on me. They understand that I have to do this and that this is a job now.
Paneech: What is the best advice you have gotten so far at this level?
Naquin: Just to take it one day at a time and to be patient. Everyone wants to hit.300 or .350, but you will always have the next day. You are going to wake up the next day and hit again. It’s a grind here though. You really have to take care of your body and get enough sleep.
Paneech: I see you in the dugout and it looks like you are genuinely having a good time. Comment on the experiences that make this fun.
Naquin: I am getting a lot of money to play this game, how could you not have fun? I don’t want to sit behind a desk for 45 years, I would much rather be doing this. My family, my girlfriend, and my friends are really enjoying watching me. Money comes and goes, that is an accolade of putting in the hard work. God has put me in this position and given me the opportunity.
Paneech: Because you grew up in Texas, were you a Jeff Bagwell fan growing up? Who did you watch and emulate?
Naquin: I had a Ken Griffey Jr. jersey,and I liked [Josh] Hamilton, [Craig] Biggio and Bagwell, but in maybe a selfish way I was different. If I went to a big league game I could care less about getting an autograph. Even though I was only 13 or 14 years old, I knew I wanted to be that guy, not chasing autographs but rather signing them. I definitely look up to those guys, but the flame and drive I have is to be better than they were.
Paneech: You are that guy in a way now. Kids are screaming your name for autographs already. Is the same kid asking you for a bat every night getting old?
Naquin: If it makes a kids day to get a Tyler Naquin autograph, then I am going to sign his baseball. You live everyday as the best person you can be and put yourself in favorable situations. I like seeing a kid smile and I will continue to sign as long as I am playing. It is the right thing to do. Good fans will carry you a long way and Joe [Wendle] and Charlie [Valerio] are that way too.
Paneech: Are you superstitious?
Naquin: I am superstitious. It is all about feeling good. My dad always tells me if you look good and feel good, you are going to play good. One of my things is brushing my teeth. I have to brush my teeth before every game. I have a little routine where I have to take an extra swing in the batters box. It helps me time the pitcher. I like to level the dirt in he batters box.
One Word Answers
Favorite Meal of The Day: Dinner.
Fast Food Order: Taco Bell ~~Bean burrito, no onions, a double decker, two crunchy tacos, and Mountain Dew.
Best Movie Ever Made? Talladega Nights.
Biggest Phobia: Snakes.
Worst Habit: Forgetting Stuff.
Song No One Would Believe Is On Your ipod: Fergilicious.
What Sport If Not Baseball? Probably football.
If there were no sports, what would you do? I would be a rancher. I like to breed animals and genetics. My girlfriend is passionate about horses, so I would try to put something together on a big piece of property.
The 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star Game was all that and more. Eastwood Field hosted the contest for the first time and after a one hour rain delay, and a hustling grounds crew, there was a baseball game. The National League won the game, 6-1, in a contest that seemed to showcase pitching.
“It has been a lot of fun”, said AL Manager Ted Kubiak. ”Before the game, we told these young men to play. There were no signs, no set plays, just get up there and hit. They are all here for a reason and there was quite a bit of talent on that field tonight.”
Kubiak said before the game that the five Mahoning Valley Scrappers that were named to the team would get in early. The three position players would go four innings and the two pitchers would hurl the first and second innings.
How the Scrappers did:
Luis DeJesus – Started the game for the American League team and pitched a scoreless first inning without giving up a hit. He struck out one batter.
Jacob Lee – Pitched the second inning for the American League team, also a scoreless and hitless frame. Lee (above) struck out two of the three batters that he faced.
Charlie Valerio – Started the game as the American League catcher. Valerio batted second and grounded out to first in the first inning. In the third, Valerio grounded out.
Joe Wendle – Started the game at third base for the American League team. In his first at-bat, Wendle struck out. Wendle singled in his second at-bat. He was thrown out at secnd to start a double play.
Joe Sever – Stated the game at DH for the American League All-Stars. Sever singled in his first at-bat and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sever was stranded there however. In his second at-bat, Sever struck out.
The game itself:
The National League scored the first run of the game. Consecutive broken bat singles by Patrick Wisdom and Juancito Martinez put runners at first and third with one out. Breyvic Valera hit a long sac fly to center to make it 1-0 in favor of the National League team.
Estarlin Martinez doubled to start the fifth and scored when Juancito Martinez singled. Juancito then stole third and catcher Sam Kimmel sailed the throw into left field allowing Martinez to jog home and make it a 3-0 advantage for the National League.
Roman Quinn had an inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning to make it 4-0. Quinn showed terrific speed whizzing around the bases before crossing the plate uncontested. The Nationals tacked on four in the ninth.
The American League got on the board in the bottom of the ninth on a Tyler Hanover home run to very deep left field to close the scoring.
The entire Scrappers staff did a phenomenal job putting the game and everything it entails together. One Scrapper staff member who could be nominated for the MVP would be Matt Rollins (above). The head groundskeeper battled the elements all day in getting the field in near mint condition. Big pat on the back to him and his staff.