After a six-day stint with Single-A Peoria, Robelys Reyes returned to State College to fill a void left at shortstop due to injuries.
Leobaldo Pina was on the disabled list, sidelined with an injury he suffered stepping on first base at Batavia on July 2. Andrew Sohn was scratched from the lineup late on July 6 as a precaution with an injury to his right elbow, forcing second baseman Darren Seferina to slide over to short for the night.
Reyes joined the Spikes in Batavia the following night.
Reyes, who played all nine games at second base for the Spikes before his promotion to Peoria on July 1, has made the transition seamlessly. He’s played stellar defense and provided a steady influence in the infield in the last six games.
“We lost Pina and Sohn, and he slid in there and he’s done a nice job,” Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said after the Spikes’ win over Brooklyn on Friday. “He’s got a plus arm and that was a phenomenal play what he did today, that really helped.”
The phenomenal play came in the eighth inning when Reyes made a diving, backhanded stop to start a double play. He made a handful of plays look easy in another win over Staten Island on Saturday.
State College’s game Sunday against Staten Island was suspended after 2 1/2 scoreless innings due to rain. The teams will finish their series with a doubleheader Monday, resuming the suspended game at noon followed by a seven-inning contest.
Marmol said Reyes’ consistency and presence has been helpful to Seferina and third baseman Danny Diekroeger, who are both in their first year of professional baseball.
“There’s not a whole lot that gets him excited,” Marmol said on Saturday. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a walk-off home run or a diving play for a double play like last night. He keeps his cool, and he’s pretty mellow all the way through, which allows some of the younger guys to stay calm in those situations, which is nice.”
Reyes has also picked up where he left off with the bat. He was hitting .349 with a seven-game hitting streak before being called up to Peoria.
He’s gone 10 for 24 (.417) and recorded a hit in all six games since rejoining the Spikes (21-8), pushing his season average to .373.
Sohn was in St. Louis on Sunday to see a doctor for his injury.
Spikes stay hot during homestand
State College completed its three-game sweep of Jamestown on July 6 to extend its winning streak at the time to five games.
The Spikes took the opener by scoring a season-high 11 runs and won the final two games over the Jammers behind dominant pitching.
“We’re doing it in all different types of ways,” Spikes catcher Brian O’Keefe said after the win that night. “The pitchers show up and the offense shows up, and when you got both going at the same time, you’re a really tough team to beat.
“When we get back on the road here, hopefully we can continue that and come home with the winning streak still intact.”
State College did that, pushing their win streak to seven games after two wins at Auburn before falling 4-0 to Brooklyn in the first game of the current homestand. The Spikes bounced back with three straight wins and have now won 10 of their last 11 games.
The ability to win behind pitching or hitting any given night is evident in the New York-Penn League team statistics. The Spikes lead the league in home runs (29) and RBIs (141) and rank second in runs (157) and batting average (.267).
State College also sits in first place in the Pinckney Division with a four-game lead over second-place Batavia.
“These guys are working hard,” Marmol said. “They’re putting in a lot of effort, and they’re being rewarded right now. They’re executing their plan, and they’re sticking to it, so it’s good to see them being able to produce. It’s always good when you get to shake hands at the end of the game.”
Scanio makes immediate contribution to bullpen
A broken left wrist sent then-Peoria pitcher Joe Scanio to the disabled list on April 28.
Scanio made a rehab appearance with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals before joining the State College bullpen last Wednesday. The reliever pitched in back-to-back games, earning saves in a pair of State College victories over Brooklyn last Thursday and Friday, respectively.
“Especially coming off rehab, it’s good to get back out there and get back into the groove,” Scanio said. “I’m feeling good. I’ve had two months to get ready for it. I’m happy about it honestly. I’m glad that (Marmol) is throwing me in there in the position to get us a save.”
Scanio started his professional career with Batavia in 2012 after being drafted in the 16th round that year by the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent last season in Peoria and pitched in six games for the Chiefs this season.