Archive for June, 2011

The chuckles of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase could be heard throughout Eastwood Field on Sunday.

But it was the Scrappers who had the last laugh in a series against the State College Spikes.

In three games, Mahoning Valley tallied 16 runs to take every game against the Spikes. The offensive onslaught by the Scrappers was the most runs collected by the team in a three game stretch, this season.

With DiBiase on hand, the Scrappers held Wrestling Night on June 26. Trivia, autographs from the “Million Dollar Man” and even a main event bout between Scrappy and Costanza the Rally Gorilla turned the stadium into an all-out wrestling ring. On the field, it was a one sided cage match with the Scrappers scoring six 1st inning runs. Doubles from Tony Wolters, Jake Lowery, Todd Hankins and KC Serna paced the way as the Scrappers batted around in the first frame. In his professional debut, Mason radeke earned the win goign five full innings, allowing justone run on three hits. The Santa Barbara, CA native fanned four Spikes batters in his first Minor League go-around.

Mahoning Valley found itself in an all too familiar scenario on Tuesday.

With a chance to walk off with a win in the bottom of the 9th, the Scrappers did. It took 11 innings back on June 22, but pinned against the wall to win in stunning fashion, the home team has come through. In both situations, the game has ended on a walk. Both times, Jordan Smith has been the hero with a good eye drawing a walk to win it in the end.

The Scrappers polished off the series sweep on Tuesday with a 2-for-4 performance by Bryson Myles.

The Stephen F. Austin product led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single. Showcasing his speed, Myles stole second, and then third. He now has five stolen bases in 2011. Myles scored the first of six Scrappers runs there in the first frame. He collected his fourth RBI of the season scoring Todd Hankins with a triple in the bottom of the 2nd. Myles leads the team with a .333 batting average and .412 on-base percentage.

Alex Lavisky and Wolters also had two hit days, Tuesday.

It’s now the Spikes turn to be at home as the Scrappers travel to State College for another three game set Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Be sure to include a trip to Eastwood Field in your 4th of July weekend plans. The Scrappers will be back in Mahoning Valley on the 2nd and the 3rd. With a Youth Jersey giveaway on Saturday and Patriotic Night celebrations on Sunday, the perfect way to honor America is with some Scrappers baseball.

Photo Credits: courtesy of Woodard Photography/ Jesse Piecuch


Opening Weekend Rewind

Posted: June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Scrappers were the only team in the New York-Penn League to open the season with six straight games at home.

Boy, were they fun.

Mahoning Valley, behind the support of its home town fans, tallied four wins in those two opening series against the Jamestown Jammers and Batavia Muckdogs.

The extended weekend from Friday June 17 to Wednesday the 22nd were action packed with great on and off the field action.

With the shout of “play ball,” proclaimed by OTN Performance Play-Ball-Kid Ethan English, the 2011 Scrappers campaign began.

Though the team fell 9-3, the crowd of 5, 428 went home well entertained with a post game fireworks extravaganza.

Saturday and Sunday proved to be much better for the Scrappers as they picked up a pair of wins to close out, and win, the series against Jamestown.

On bark in the park night, many events included man’s best friend with dog themed parades, trivia and activities. The Scrappers had some bite in them, too. Centerfielder Cody Elliot went 2-for-3 with an RBI and was named the Wing Warehouse Player-of-the-Game.

Families flocked to Eastwood Field for Fathers Day and were treated to an exciting game of baseball. The final score was 5-2 in favor of Mahoning Valley. The Scrappers led all game and started off hot with a run in the bottom of the first. Catcher Jake Lowry collected four of the team’s five RBI.

Despite an opening series loss to the Muckdogs on Monday, the Scrappers found some power in the lineup. Outfielder Bryson Myles knotted his first hit of his professional career, a 5th inning bomb of a home run well over the left field fence. The home team wound up losing, though, 10-7. Late rallies in the bottom of the 8th and 9th were not enough for the Scrappers to come back. They did out-hit the Muckdogs 13-11.

Following suit with the first series, the Scrappers dropped the first game but would go on to win the next two. On Tuesday, they earned their first shut out of the year thanks to superb pitching from starter Danny Jimenez and relievers Cody Allen and Bryce Stowell. It was a 2-0 win in favor of Mahoning Valley.

Joseph Colon led another valiant pitching performance on Wednesday for a 4-3 Scrappers win. Colon was strong with four strikeouts in five innings. Kyle Petter closed the game and earned the win after 2.1 innings of two hit ball with three strikeouts of his own.

There are still 32 home games left in the season making for a convenient outlet for summer entertainment. The team is currently on the road in Auburn, New York and will return home on Sunday the 26th for Wrestling Night featuring and appearance from “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

Be sure to check back on The Scrappers Scoop for Mahoning Valley baseball updates, all season long.

Photo Credits: courtesy of Woodard Photography/ Jesse Piecuch

When the Eastwood Field gates open this evening at 6:00 p.m. for Opening Day, the on the field changes will undoubtedly be noticed. Team wise, there is a new manager and new coaches and players. The outfield walls have fresh signs sponsored by area businesses and new banners align the gates.  Most of age fans will recognize a popular beer vendor has now made its mark at the ballpark. Leinenkugels now has a stand serving its products, as well as other nationally noted craft beers. For $5.75 a fan can purchase a 20 oz Summer Shandy Leinenkugels and for just $8 dollars a 320z can be bought. Along with the specialty Leinenkugels, Blue Moon is also served on tap. Favorites such Corona,Twisted Tea, Miller MGD, Modelo, El Jimador and Jack Daniels Cocktails can also be purchased at the new stand. Fans won’t go hungry here, either. With Italian Sausage and bratwurst hot off the grille, great eats will be cooking all year long.

So, whether you’re coming out for the first game against the Jamestown Jammers tonight, or plan on making it out to Niles anytime this summer, pay a visit to Leinenkugels.

Opening Day is just a day away!

This week, the 2011 edition of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers slowly made their way to Niles. The front office staff compiled a litany of events to warm up the team, coaches, fans and local reporters for the season.

A crop of nearly 25 guys, no older than 22, got a chance to familiarize themselves with each other. For many, this will be their first taste of professional baseball.

Newspaper and television outlets in the Youngstown-Warren area were invited to Eastwood Field for media day on Tuesday. New manager Dave Wallace, just 31 years old, takes over the Scrappers. His journey is unique as he was a former Scrappers catcher back in 2002. He has since risen through the Indians organizational ranks spending time as the Cleveland bullpen catcher the past two years. Wallace returning to his roots is just one of the many storylines likely to unfold over the course of this exciting season.

For some players, Kirk Wetmore, Moises Montero and Kevin Fontanez, the Mahoning Valley will again be their summer home. Having played for the Scrappers before, their leadership will be key to a team littered with many younger prospects.

On Wednesday, the backbone of the Scrappers got to meet with the players personally. It’s the fans, Scrappers Backers and host families that provide the care and support for the “Boys of Summer.”

An autograph session, Scrappers Backers scholarship presentation, meet and greet, and grand buffett dinner were provided for all Season Ticket holders at the annual meet and greet event.

The ceremonial bunting is now hung at Eastwood Field. The hype and anticipation has been built, within 24 hours they will yell, “play ball,” and the 2011 New York-Penn League will begin.

Go Scrappers!

At an age when most 14 year old kids are content with playing video games and eating large amounts of junk food, Grant Tunkel was preparing for his future. Growing up on Long Island, he was surrounded by many prestigious sports teams in the New York area. A dedicated Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers fan, Tunkel immersed himself in sports. Listening to broadcasts of each into the wee hours of the night, he not only paid attention to the games, but put himself in the announcers shoes. It was then he knew his career calling was as a sportscaster. Even before hitting high school Tunkel recorded his own broadcasting tapes, acting as a commentator on any sporting event he watched. One particular play-by-play tape, a Mets-Cardianals Spring Training game, caught the eye of the minor league Charleston River Dogs front office. Tunkel did some work with the River Dogs live on the air and it was there he began to forge a career in sports broadcasting.

His work has taken him from Los Angeles, CA, where he attended college at USC, to Jamestown, NY, and we are lucky to have him in the Mahoning Valley for the summer calling Scrappers games. The Scrappers Scoop recently sat down with Tunkel to discuss his work, ambitions, baseball and artistic endeavors.

Scrappers Scoop: Who influenced your love of sports growing up?

Grant Tunkel: It was probably my dad. He instilled a love of sports in me from a young age.

SS: Do you try to model yourself after any particular broadcaster?

GT: To be honest, I try to create my own identity as a broadcaster, but there are certainly broadcasters who have influenced my work. Vin Scully is a legend, and his description and play-by-play are unparalleled. I strive to bring that level of description into my work every time I do a broadcast. Growing up in New York, I listened to Gary Cohen call Mets games and Marv Albert do just about every sport. They’re two of the all-time greats, in my opinion, and they’ve helped shape my love for broadcasting and my style.

SS: In such a competitive field, how do you stand out from the rest?

GT: Good question. I think it’s all about crafting your own identity and working hard to excel at it. I like to be as descriptive as possible, painting a picture of just about everything you see. The more descriptive you are, the better your broadcast. A long-time USA Today reporter also told me that you can never have too much original reporting, so I like to incorporate as many stories into my broadcast as possible. Listeners want to hear about a player’s background and personality, just as they want to know about a player’s batting average.

SS: How was the adjustment from New York to Los Angeles?

GT: It wasn’t too bad. It’s definitely different, comparing to the two cities, but I embraced Los Angeles with open arms and I had an amazing four years out there.

SS: After being literally all over the country, how does the Mahoning Valley stand out?

GT: I’ve only been here a short time, but I’ve really enjoyed it. There’s a lot of interesting things to do out here. I like the Eastwood Mall, there are some unique eating options and there’s nothing like coming to Eastwood Field every day for work. It’s great.

SS: You’ve noted the Jets are your favorite professional team. But what about baseball draws you to the sport?

GT: Baseball has it’s own personality, it’s own distinct culture. There’s nothing like going to the ballpark and catching a game, or watching on TV, or really even sitting by the radio and tuning in. It’s a sport with a rich history that is well-documented and a great tradition in this country. Truly it’s an honor to be able to call baseball games, given the way the sport is entrenched in everyday life.

SS: Finally, outside of the sports realm, what makes Grant Tunkel tick?

GT: I like to consider myself a diverse person. I graduated from USC with a degree in international relations as well, so I like to keep up on world affairs. I really enjoy listening to music, a lot of classic rock and some contemporary stuff as well. I also dabble, and I do mean dabble, in guitar. I have a lot of different interests.

Be sure to tune in to 1570AM WHTX for every Scrappers game this season, with Tunkel on the call. Also, read his blog, The Niles Files, where he gives daily updates about life in the minor leagues. Examples of Tunkel’s previous work can be found on