The win ended a season-long six-game string of losses for the Spikes (34-25), who remain six games in front of Batavia for the lead in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division. State College’s magic number to clinch a division crown is now down to 13 with 17 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
De Leon brought in a run with each of his first three hits, including a first-inning double and right-inning single. The Kansas product then went deep to the Picnic Pavilion in left field in the fifth inning with a solo shot to stake the Spikes to a 5-1 lead.
Collin Radack also collected three hits, two of them on groundballs that he beat out for infield singles. Luis Cruz plated a run for State College right after De Leon’s single in the third with a base hit of his own. Danny Diekroeger’s sacrifice fly in the fourth scored the other Spikes run.
Mahoning Valley (25-33) fought back with a pair of runs in the third thanks to a run-scoring single by Martin Cervenka and a Taylor Murphy sacrifice fly. The Scrappers then edged within a run in the eighth after Leo Castillo knocked in Cervenka thanks to a two-out single.
However, Brandon Lee got the final two outs of the eighth inning, and Kyle Grana (5) allowed one walk while striking out two batters to pick up the save in the ninth. Grana, who was selected to Tuesday’s NYPL All-Star Game this past weekend, now has 50 strikeouts on the year, putting him back in the top five in the league among all pitchers in that category.
Dewin Perez (5-1) earned his third straight win on the mound for the Spikes, going 5 1/3 innings and yielding three runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batsman while striking out one.
Scrappers starter Sean Brady (2-4) took the loss after giving up all five State College runs, three of them earned, on ten hits and a walk. Brady also recorded two strikeouts. The left-hander had allowed just one earned run over ten innings of work in two previous starts against the Spikes.
Shane Rowland produced a pair of doubles for Mahoning Valley, including one that brought in the Scrappers’ first run in the fourth inning.
-Spikes Media Relations
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