NILES, OH – It’s getting to a point in the year where every little play looms larger than the one before it. For the Hudson Valley Renegades, a seven-game losing streak is not what the team envisioned as it embarked on the final weeks of the season. With a couple of days off coming up, the team was preparing to close out a rough six-game homestand in Mahoning Valley on Sunday afternoon. Despite five runs in the eighth inning to take a 6-2 lead, the ‘Gades clawed all the way to the finish line and withstood a furious comeback. With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Cory Jordan got Claudio Bautista to fly out and get the team to the All-Star break on a more positive note.
After failing to score with a pair of runners in scoring position and two outs in the first, the Scrappers struck first against a fast worker in Ben Griset in the second. With a runner at second base, Griset walked the next two hitters to load the bases with two outs for Bautista. His RBI single advanced all the runners a base and broke the scoreless tie, but Griset got James Roberts to ground out to end the threat.
The game was relatively quiet until the Renegades scored a run to tie things up in the top of the sixth. Singles by John Alexander and Ariel Soriano preceded a sacrifice bunt by Darryl George for the first out. Johnny Field then regained a tie for the league lead with his fifth sacrifice fly of the year, a shot to deep center that scored Alexander to tie the game at one. Oscar Hernandez then grounded out to end the inning with Soriano at third base as the go-ahead run.
Mahoning Valley came right back with a run in the bottom of the frame against Justin Choate. A one out double by Ryan Battaglia and a wild pitch allowed Martin Cervenka to single home the tie-breaking run and give the Scrappers a 2-1 lead. That score held until the eighth, when the Renegades took advantage of relief pitcher Alexis Paredes. After walks by Soriano and George and a Field single, the bases were loaded with one out for Hernandez. His RBI single scored Soriano to tie the game at two. Later in the inning, doubles by Ty Young and Julian Ridings and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Granden Goetzman plated up four more runs and made it 6-2 Hudson Valley.
The Scrappers weren’t done thanks to two runs in the bottom of eighth on an RBI single by Joel Mejia and a double play groundout by Bautista with the bases loaded that made it 6-4. In the ninth, Battaglia’s solo home run off Derek Loera with one out made it 6-5. Josh McAdams was hit by a pitch and Cervenka singled again to signal the end of Loera’s (1-1) night. With Jordan in the game looking for his first save, he got Cody Ferrell to pop out to first before walking Mejia to load the bases. It was Bautista’s second opportunity in as many innings with the bases loaded, but Jordan won the lengthy battle by getting him to fly out to left to end the exciting evening.
The ‘Gades record now stands at 26-27, putting them half a game back of Brooklyn and one and a half games back of Aberdeen in the McNamara Division.