Muckdogs blank Mahoning Valley to hike lead
BATAVIA – Just a day ago, the Batavia Muckdogs were in danger of losing the lead in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
However, back home at Dwyer Stadium, the Batavia pitching staff and clutch hitting led the Muckdogs to a 5-0 shutout of Mahoning Valley Sunday.
With the win and a West Virginia loss, Batavia (33-23) now has a 3.0 lead in the division.
Julio Frias improved to 4-2 wth the win, throwing five shutout innings with two strikeouts and one walk.
Jonaiker Villalobos struck out two in a scoreless sixth for his second hold and Geremy Galindez earned his second hold, but left the game with with discomfort after a pitch.
Joey Steele, the 30th round draft pick this year of the Miami Marlins who has a perfect 0.00 ERA, was called to the mound in the seventh with one out. With a few minutes to throw and stretch, he went out and threw 2.2 innings of one-hit, shutout ball with four strikeouts and no walks for his first save.
Steele has now thrown 13.2 innings with 22 strikeouts, no runs allowed, 11 hits, one walk and a 0.88 WHIP to go along with his 0.00 ERA.
“That was huge of Joe, he really picked up the bull pen, went 2.2 innings … that was big time of him,” said Batavia catcher and Miami native Michael Hernandez. “We really needed that.”
Hernandez not only handled the four pitchers for a shutout but had a basest and scored a run.
“I’m just taking it one pitch at time and trying to hit the ball hard,” said Hernandez. “We are in first place, there is no better feeling than winning. It’s always a great day when you get a shut out, that means it’s a combination of defense and pitching … it was a great day for us Muckdogs.”
At the plate, J.D. Orr was close to an inside-the-park homer when his sharply hit single to right skipped off the glove of an outfielder to the fence. He raced around the bases, scoring three runs on the play.
Orr finished 2-for-4 with two runs, his 13th RBI and increased his NYPL leading average to .384.
Nic Ready had two hits and scored a run while Sean Reynolds ripped a RBI single and Jack Strunc had a single and scored.
Not only did West Virginia (29-25) lose, but State College (27-28) in third place lost and Mahoning Valley (25-30) is in fourth.
The Muckdogs have five game left in this home stand, taking on Mahoning Valley Monday and Tuesday with games at 7:05 p.m. all week.