By Ty Bartell

For the 25th consecutive season, The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are bringing baseball back to the valley! Led by new skipper Dimitri Young, The Scrappers opened their season against The West Virginia Black Bears for the first of a four game set on June 1st.

West Virginia threw starter Aric McAtee on the mound while Mahoning Valley tossed Elijah Pleasants. Scrappers struck first in the bottom of the first off an RBI fielder’s choice by Cole Conn. The Black Bears responded in the top of the third with a two spot in the inning, capped off by an RBI-single by Nick Iannantone, making it a 2-1 Black Bear lead. 

Adding insurance in the top of the fifth, West Virginia helped their slim lead by doubling it to two runs 3-1. However, The Scrapper had a response, courtesy of Brandon Hylton who smacked an RBI-double in the bottom half of the fifth to take the insurance run right back!

Attempting to, once again, give themselves some breathing room, West Virginia brought a run home after catching a runner up in-between second and third, a wild throw by JR Bedford allowed The Black Bears to recapture their two run advantage. But once again, The Scrappers showed their scrappiness and battled back! Working multiple walks in the bottom of the seventh, Mahoning Valley started a rally with Andreaus Lewis II hitting an RBI-double and once again brought Mahoning Valley within a single run. Dante Leach came up with the big hit that ricocheted off second baseman Maury Weaver’s glove, putting the exclamation point on a five run bottom of the seventh!

Derek Bolander worked the eighth and Joe Glassey closed things out in the ninth for his first save of the season and a 1-0 start to the campaign for The Scrappers! Andrew Lucas picked up the win, working three innings and striking out a pair. Mahoning Valley (1-0) will welcome West Virginia (0-1) back on Friday, June 2nd for their second game in the opening four game set.