6/21/04 – Daily News Record
Harrisonburg Falls Out of First Place By AARON GRAY Daily News-Record FRONT ROYAL – Patrick Nichols enjoys pressure. Sunday night, the Front Royal designated hitter had fun with the Harrisonburg Turks. His two-run home run in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Cardinals a 5-3 victory over Harrisonburg in a Valley League baseball game at Bing Crosby Stadium Sunday. "I love hitting late in the game when the pressure is on," said Nichols, who had two strikes on him before he took Andrew Weber’s fastball over the center field fence. "I’m comfortable in those situations." The game was the fifth of the season for Nichols because his Coastal Carolina University team appeared in the NCAA Columbia Regional tournament on June 5. "I don’t care if he was late, we’re glad to have him," Cardinals manager Matt Kirby said. "We started him in the sixth spot, then we moved him up to the five. Now we have him in the four hole. He’s hitting the ball well for us so we’ll put him in the pressure spot every night." Turks first baseman Joe Kemp led off the second with a solo home run, his first in four games for the Turks (7-6) this season. But after not committing an error in their 7-3 victory Saturday, Harrisonburg committed two in the fifth inning that led to three Cardinal runs. "Scratch those two plays and we win tonight," said Turks manager Bob Wease, whose team has dropped five of their last six. All three runs were scored with two outs. Harrisonburg catcher Matt Weglarz and Kemp led off the seventh with back-to-back doubles that scored one run. Both players went 2-for-4 on the night. Shortstop Gered Mochizuki followed with a fielder’s choice that scored another run to cap the two-run, three-hit seventh. But it wasn’t enough to give the slumping Turks a win. Third baseman Dan Melvin went 3-for-4 for the Cardinals (6-5), but it was Nichols clutch blast that made Front Royal a winner. "I haven’t had this much fun playing baseball in a long time," said Nichols. Harrisonburg 010 000 200 – 3 6 2 Front Royal 000 030 20X – 5 8 0 Gudex, Weber (6), Brune (7) and Weglarz; Knight, Mickles (7), Ramsey (8), Lutz (9) and Bennett. W – Mickles (NA); L – Weber. HR: H – Kemp; FR – Nichols.