NILES - After a 2-4 road trip that ended with three consecutive losses, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers were hoping a return to Eastwood Field would be just the thing they would need to get back on the winning track.
That failed to happen Tuesday night against the Williamsport Crosscutters, as the Scrappers fell behind 5-0 and could never mount a serious challenge in a 6-2 loss.
"We work with these guys every day to try and make adjustments. It's tough," Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak said. "They're young guys. We've just got to keep doing what we can; keep trying, keep working on things."
After three hitless innings to start the game, Williamsport got a solo home run in the fourth from Kyle Hoppy against Scrappers starter Jake Sisco (1-3).
The Crosscutters added three more runs in the fifth. Mitch Walding walked to lead off the inning and after Sisco recorded two outs, Tyler Greene hit a two-run home run. After Roman Quinn walked and stole second, Hoppy singled to right to plate Quinn and went to third as the ball got by Andrew Campbell for an error.
Sisco allowed four hits and five runs (all earned) in six innings. He walked two and struck out five.
The Scrappers scored their only two runs in the sixth. Robel Garcia singled with one out. After Logan Vick flew out to left, Hunter Jones grounded to shortstop Quinn, who attempted a fielder's choice but his throw pulled second baseman Greene off the bag for an error. Joe Wendle then tripled to deep right-center field to drive in both runners to cut the Williamsport lead to 5-2.
That was all Mahoning Valley would get against Crosscutters starter Kevin Brady (1-1). He allowed four hits and two runs (both unearned) in 5 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven, lowering his ERA to 0.48.
"We had some trouble with a pretty good fastball for six innings," Kubiak said. "We didn't hit. A couple of (Williamsport's) guys that weren't hitting much hit home runs. That's where the game goes."
Wendle was the only Scrappers player to have much of any success against Williamsport pitching. He finished 3 for 4 with both his team's RBIs. He raised his batting average to .336.
"I've prepared hard in the offseason to be ready for it," he said. "This is the opportunity I was going to get. I feel prepared for it physically."
The Scrappers conclude their two-game series against Williamsport tonight at 7:05, then head back out on the road for a four-game trip to Batavia and Auburn before the all-star break.