NILES - Friday's one hour, 15-minute rain delay at Eastwood Field proved to be more bark than bite.
Threatening skies, flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder forced the Scrappers grounds crew to pull the tarp onto the field just before the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start. It was later announced that the scheduled post-game fireworks show was canceled "due to high winds and excessive heat."
As it turned out, nothing more than a sprinkle fell over Niles.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Mahoning Valley Scrappers second baseman Robel Garcia misses the tag on State College Spikes’ Yhonathan Barrios who is safe at second base. Barrios went on to score a run in the fourth inning of Friday’s game at Eastwood Field. Scrappers’ Jario Kelly backs up the play.
Once the game began, the Scrappers offense found itself shooting duds early on. Then, the home team stormed back late to record its second straight come-from-behind win.
The result was a 3-2 Scrappers victory over State College in front of 2,774 fans. It's the first time this year that the Scrappers have won two straight.
Trailing 2-0 after six innings, the Scrappers (5-7) tied the game in the seventh, then scored the eventual game-winning run in the eighth. Until the rally, the Scrappers were only able to muster three base hits, all singles.
Third baseman Joe Wendle started the comeback with a one-out single. He scored on a double by Hunter Jones, then Jones crossed the plate on an Aaron Siliga base hit.
In the eighth, Tyler Naquin reached second on an error, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, then scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly by Charlie Valerio.
Wendle, a sixth-round pick in the June draft out of West Chester University (Pa.), went 3-for-4.
"As a team, we've been lacking the big hits and the clutch performances late in games," Wendle said. "It feels good to get this type of win. Obviously, we'd like to get up early and stay up, but a win like this is great for our confidence."
Wendle said that despite the slow start offensively experienced by the Scrappers, the team has remained upbeat.
"(Manager) Ted (Kubiak) and the rest of the coaches haven't pressured us to get things going. They understand that the transition from college to pro can be tough, and it can take time to adjust," Wendle said. "Rather than try to make us force things, they preach the importance of staying patient and focused.
"We go from metal to wood (bats), we go from playing part-time to doing this for a living. We're just looking to get consistent at what we're doing."
In addition to timely hitting, the Scrappers received solid pitching from starter Jake Sisco and reliever Jacob Lee.
Sisco, making his third start of the season, worked into the seventh, scattering just two runs on six hits. He walked a pair while recording four strikeouts.
Lee recorded the final eight outs of the contest. He didn't allow a hit and walked one while striking out five. He picked up his first win of the season.
"Jake (Sisco) had good stuff, and he seemed to get strong later on. Jacob (Lee) was outstanding. They both deserved a win," Wendle said.
The Spikes scored the game's first run in the third on an RBI single by Chris Diaz. They took a 2-0 advantage in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Jared Laking.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series tonight at 7:05.
Top dogs: Scrappers pitchers Jake Sisco and Jacob Lee combined to strike out nine batters while scattering just two runs on six hits.
In the doghouse: Spikes designated hitter Samuel Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts while leaving three runners in scoring position.
Bark of the night: "Excessive heat? They must never shoot off fireworks south of Ohio." A disgruntled Scrappers fan when it was announced that the post-game fireworks show was canceled due to heat and wind.
Kibbles N Bits: State College has yet to hit a home run this year, while the Spikes pitchers have yielded just one homer. ... The Scrappers' lineup includes seven players who hail from Texas. Eight players were born in the Dominican Republic. ... The Scrappers played the entire 2011 season without a home game being rained out.
Stadium scraps: The Scrappers wrap up their six-game homestand tonight. They will then hit the road for three games, then return to Eastwood Field on July 4. The Scrappers will host Aberdeen and Connecticut during the upcoming homestand.