NILES — Christmas in July was celebrated Sunday at Eastwood Field. Holiday tunes filled the air as Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves roamed the stadium.
The State College Spikes were in a generous mood, handing the Mahoning Valley Scrappers four errors which led to plenty of scoring opportunities.
Unfortunately, Scrappers reliever Jack Goonan played the Grinch in the tenth inning, leading to an 8-7 Spikes victory over the Scrappers in front of 1,782 fans.
With the game tied 7-7, the Spikes started the tenth inning with DeAndre Shelton at first base. Shelton placed second on wild terrain. An intentional walk was followed by a floor. Another wild pitch prompted an intentional second walk to load the bases. Then a third wild pitch scored Shelton to end the game.
The Scrappers tied the back and forth game in the bottom of the ninth on a Ron Washington RBI hit that scored Jeffrey Wehler. Washington had a pair of hits and two RBIs on the day while Wehler was 3 for 5.
Howland High product Jacob Harsany earned the Scrappers’ departure. He worked five innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits.
The Scrappers and Spikes wrap up their three-game series tonight at 7:05 a.m.
PREMIERE OF PALM
Depending on the circumstances, an umpire can be a pitcher’s best friend or worst enemy.
In the case of Scrappers starting pitcher Masen Palmier, a chance encounter with an umpire at a recreational league game helped create a special bond between Palmier and a man he would soon call “coach” and “best friend.” “.
Palmier, a native of Ballwin, MO was a junior in high school playing in a recreational league baseball game when he came to the attention of a referee working on the contest. Until then, Palmier had never played ball in high school.
“So the ref comes over and says, ‘Hey kid, where are you going to school,’ and I tell him I’m a student here in town at Parkway South,” Palmier recalled. “He’s like, ‘Don’t panic, I’m coaching the team.'”
“The following Monday morning I’m in his office and I ended up playing for coach (Adam) Stahl in my senior year. He became an incredible influence, a wonderful mentor and my best friend.
After a stellar senior season, Palmier played for two junior varsity programs before landing at Missouri Baptist University in 2019. As a grad student last year, Palmier played his final collegiate game on May 4 at of a 10-5 MBU win over William. Woods in an American Midwest Conference tournament game.
In the contest, Palmier worked nine innings, throwing 128 pitches while recording 14 strikeouts.
Last Friday, Palmier returned to the mound, this time leading the Scrappers to a 4-3 win over State College in the season opener of the second half. Palmier went six scoreless innings, allowing just three base hits while throwing 76 pitches.
“When my college season ended in May, I thought my baseball career might be over,” Palmier said. “Then I got an invitation to play in this league and I was thrilled. I had a few teammates who played here last year and just based on their feedback I was looking forward to diving in.
Palmier’s debut in a Scrappers uniform took place in front of 3,605 fans.
“It was by far the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of,” Palmier said. “When I came out of the bullpen, the place was packed and the fans were really into it from the start. It was an amazing experience.”
“I’m just trying to make a good impression. I want to do well, I want to be a good teammate, and I certainly want to do well for the Mahoning Valley fans. They are fantastic.”