Jammers shut down Scrappers, spoil opener

NILES – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers began their season Monday facing off against the Jamestown Jammers, the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliate. The Jammers disappointed the large opening-day crowd by defeating the Scrappers, 5-0.

The problem for the Scrappers was their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Scrappers failed to score after putting runners on the corners with no outs in the third inning. Juan Romero struck out for the first out in the inning, and a bunt by Tyler Booth resulted in a 1-3-2 inning-ending double play.

“First-and-third situation and the misread of a sign, he bunts for some reason,” Mahoning Valley manager Ted Kubiak said.

Offensive difficulties for the Scrappers continued in the seventh. They had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score. After a flyout to the third baseman, Ryan Battaglia was picked off at first base.

“I had just told Boof (Battaglia), I said ‘Watch the throw from the catcher’ and then he got picked off,” Kubiak said.

Martin Cervenka then struck out to end the inning.

Scrappers starting pitcher Luis Lugo pitched five innings giving up one run. That run came off the bat of Jammers center fielder Dan Collins, who hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning.

The Jammers threatened in the fourth as they lead off the inning with back-to-back singles. Lugo remained composed, striking out Collins and getting Edwin Espinal to fly-out to right fielder Juan Romero. Romero made a difficult running catch and was able to throw out Harold Ramirez, who drifted too far off of second base, completing the inning, ending the double play.

Romero continued the trend of great defense in the fifth inning. Jesus Vasquez hit a soft fly ball that fell in for a lead-off single, but was thrown out by Romero attempting to stretch the flare into a double.

Lugo kept the Scrappers in the game by throwing strikes and allowing his defense to make plays.

“He threw strikes down and got some ground balls,” Cervenka said. “The defense helped out a lot. He had a good ballgame.”

Cervenka, the catcher, was a large part of that defensive help. He threw out back-to-back runners trying to steal second after reaching on singles.

“I got a good pitch to throw on and Jimmy (Stokes) was quick to the plate, so that makes it easier on me,” Cervenka said.

The Scrappers hope to produce more offense tonight as they play game two of the three game series against the Jammers. On the hill for Mahoning Valley will be Caleb Hamrick.