By Ty Bartell
STRUTHERS OH- Following the first two games of a three game series drawing even with The Mahoning
Valley Scrappers taking game one 15-7 on Friday, while The State College Spikes got the series back to even on Saturday following a 9-4 victory.
Leaving Sunday to be set up as a rubber match, but with impending weather and for the benefit of both teams, The MLB Draft League elected to make the final game of the series a seven inning contest.
Elijah Pleasants got the start on the hill for Mahoning Valley, while State College threw Gabe Starks on the mound for the series finale. Both pitchers were dealing through the first two innings, managing batters on an efficient pitch count, both arms tossed two shutout frames to start the game. The first run of the game came home in the top half of the third following a couple of walks in the inning, setting up Spikes second baseman Jevin Relaford for the RBI single, putting State College up early 1-0.
Scrappers wasted little time getting the run back, in the bottom of the third Oliver Service and Prince DeBoskie hit back-to-back singles to start the inning before, two batters later, Scrappers lead off hitter, Jordan Williams delivered with an RBI base hit to tie the game 1-1! Elijah Pleasants would pitch into the fifth where he completed another shutout inning, ending his day with five innings under his belt while striking out six, allowing just two hits, three walks and one earned run across his innings of work and was in line for a win if Mahoning Valley could take a lead in the fifth.
Well ask and The Scrappers shall deliver, as the bottom of the fifth inning saw Mahoning Valley take their first lead of the ball game when Jordan Williams led off the inning with a single and stole second base to set up the middle of the order. Spikes would get the next two batters out
in the inning before the clutch bat of Mason Sykes delivered with two out once again, depositing a single to center, giving The Scrappers a 2-1 lead! Adding to their lead, next batter up, Braeden O’Shaughnessy blasted his second home run of the season over the wall in left field to pad the lead and put Mahoning Valley up 4-1!
Scrappers would then turn to Kenji Pallares for the two inning save to follow up Pleasants work on the mound. A one out double (2) and a stolen base (15) by Kyle Huckstorf set up a runner a third with less than two down in the top of the sixth, as The Spikes looked to get some runs back.
However, plans would be thwarted as Pallares recorded a strikeout of Cam Bufford and a lineout by Bryce Matthews to get out of the inning unscathed. Scrappers added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Oliver Service had his second hit of the day, and fifth of the series in just two games, before he stole his first base of the season, putting Service at second with one out. Two batters later, that man, Jordan Williams came through with his third hit of the day to bring home his second RBI of the game and pad the Scrappers lead, now 5-1.
That would be all the scoring in the contest, as the top of the seventh saw The Spikes go down, only mustering one walk offensively in the frame against Pallares, ending the seven inning contest as a Mahoning Valley victory 5-1! Elijah Pleasants got the win after his masterful outing, his first of the season. Kenji Pallares recorded his first save of the season after the two shutout inning effort. While the big bats of Braeden O’Shaughnessy and Jordan Williams helped carry The Scrappers to a series win over State College.
The Spikes (11-15) will go back home for a one-and-one home and away holiday series with The Williamsport Crosscutters (10-16), while Mahoning Valley (10-15) will have a similar one-and-one series with The West Virginia Black Bears (14-10) starting on Saturday, July 3rd. Scrappers return home on July 4th, with a firework celebration to follow at Eastwood Field. Of course, if you cannot make it out to the game, catch all Scrappers home games on YSN!