August 30, 2015 Mahoning Valley Scrappers

Normally, we’ll focus on a single game that happened on this date in Indians history, or in the case of a double header, two games, but this is an interesting one. First, this day did hold a double header for the Scrappers as they were cancelled on June 27th against the State College Spikes as one of many weather postponements in the 2015 season and they ended up having to wait two months to make up the game.

Because it was a double header, both games were seven innings, but essentially all of the excitement for this entire four game series came in the very first inning. To put the game in context, this was the second to last game of an experiment to make Jared Robinson a starter. While he had been a reliever in 2014 with the AZL Indians and would be for the rest of his very successful minor league career, this season he spent the entire year as a starter. His ineffectiveness in this and his next start appear to have had a great influence in his transition back to the bullpen.

In the first, the State College Spikes scored first with a two out double and home run to take a three run lead. As soon as the third out was recorded, the Scrappers got started on some offense of their own. Gabriel Mejia singled to start the inning, then moved up the minimum on a Ka’ai Tom ground-rule double. Mark Mathias then singled both runners home and Daniel Salters pushed him to third with the Scrappers fourth straight hit to start the game.

Mejia puts the ball in play for the 2015 Arizona League Indians on the road in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Quick outs when Nathan Winfrey struck out and Connor Marabell had an RBI fielder’s choice made it seem the inning could be over, but it was more of a half time. Juan De La Cruz doubled home Marabell, then Austin Fisher walked. An Alexis Pantoja double then brought home two. For the second time in the inning, Mejia singled and for the second time as well, Tom doubled. This time, Tom’s double stayed in the park and both runners scored. After a Mathias walk, State College had enough and starting pitcher Jacob Evans was removed for Kender Villegas with two outs in the first. Salters wasn’t quite ready for the party to end, however, and he doubled home both Mathias and Tom for a solid 10 Scrappers runs in the first.

Given the explosiveness on both sides in the first, you might expect a real barn burner of a double header, however, that wasn’t really to be the case. Both teams went scoreless until doubles from Pantoja and Tom in the helped score two more runs. Robinson then hit a batter before giving up a homer to Casey Grayson for the final runs of the game. Billy Strode finished out the game for the Scrappers to maintain the 12-5 win.

In this game, both Tom and Salters had three hits with all three of Tom’s being doubled. Five different hitters scored twice and four knocked in at least two with Pantoja knocking in three by himself.

In game two, the offense wasn’t nearly as prolific as it seemed only Fisher carried over the craziness of game one with three hits and two RBI in game two. While the Scrappers held the lead into the seventh, Yoiber Marquina blew the one run save by allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Continuing to sink, the Scrappers were shut out by State College on August 31st and lost the series with a 2-9 loss on September first. Despite a talented roster including current Major Leaguers Willi Castro, Anthony Santander, Mark Mathias and Sam Haggerty, the 2015 Scrappers finished 31-44 thanks to a complete collapse at the end of the year. Following this blow-out inning, the Scrappers lost eight of their final nine games pushing them into a tie for last place.

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