Mahoning Valley pitcher overpowers Black Bears in 5-2 win

GRANVILLE — You may want to remember the name Luis Oviedo if you’re a fan of the Cleveland Indians.
The West Virginia Black Bears won’t soon forget him.
With an imposing 6-foot-4 frame and the cool and confident demeanor of a young Tiger Woods, the 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Venezuela is quickly grabbing the attention of professional scouts throughout the New York-Penn League.
That’s right, he’s only 19.
He pitched with power and precision beyond his years in Mahoning Valley’s 5-2 victory June 28 against the Black Bears, in front of 1,750 fans inside Monongalia County Ballpark.
“We haven’t played a ton of games yet, but that was easily one of the best starters/performances we’ve seen this year,” West Virginia right fielder Brett Kinneman said. “He had the combination of velocity and location. That’s a pretty good combination to have.”
It got to the point that any ball hit out of the infield — it took until the third inning for that to happen — drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
All told, Oviedo pitched six dominant innings in picking up his second win of the season.
He allowed two singles, struck out 12 — six of those in succession from the second to fourth inning — and his run allowed was an unearned gift.
After Kinneman walked in the fourth, Luke Mangieri followed with a single to right field.
Kinnerman scored when Clark Scolamiero’s throw from right sailed about four feet wide of third base in an attempt to throw Kinneman out.
Oviedo, about as shaken up on the play as a skyscraper in a mild breeze, struck out Jhoan Herrera on four pitches to end the inning a batter later.
He threw 74 pitches, 57 for strikes.
“He did a good job attacking,” Black Bears manager Kieran Mattison said. “We got some good swings against him the last time. We just let him continue to attack and then we swung at some balls out of the (strike) zone. We kept letting him get ahead and didn’t make any adjustments.”
It was Oviedo’s second appearance against West Virginia. He went four innings and gave up two hits and a run in a 9-3 Scrappers win on June 16.
In three games, he struck out 38 over 16 innings. His ERA is 0.56.
For West Virginia (5-8), its early season of nothing but streaks continued.
After starting the year on a four-game skid, followed by a five-game winning streak, the Black Bears dropped their fourth straight.
West Virginia is now 0-4 this season against the Scrappers (10-2), an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s not fun, because you want to be consistent,” Mattison said. “We have to find our identity. That’s not who we are. We go out and work hard every day. We don’t want to be that up-and-down team.”
Pittsburgh Pirates top draft pick Travis Swaggerty was given the night off for the Black Bears and second baseman Raul Siri was called up to the West Virginia Power (Charleston) before the game.
The two teams will play the second game of a three-game series at 7 p.m. today.

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