7/3/04 – Written by Denise Wampler, JMU Communications Intern
The Harrisonburg TURKS (15-9) played host to the Luray Wranglers (13-12) on July 3, at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. The fireworks of the fourth seemed to come early, as the Luray and TURKS fans alike saw more than just a great game of baseball. In addition to seeing some of the top Valey League baseball talent, fans were the witness of a display of excitement and drama. The drama/excitement started in the in the top of the sixth, with the Wranglers leading 3-2. Luray batter, Brian Aragon, was up to bat with three balls and two strikes. On the next pitch by TURKS starter, Damian Salcedo (Junior, Oklahoma State), Luray’s Aragon assumed ball four and dropped his bat, taking off for first. Home plate umpire, Bob Featherson, saw the pitch as a strike three and rang Aragon up as a strike out. After contesting the strike three call, Luray Head Coach, Mike Bocock proceeded to argue the call. Bocock’s fury with the call and confrontation with Featherson, led him to be ejected from the game. Bocock continued with the display, kicking dirt onto the home plate umpire, pulling his team from the dugout, and dumping a bucket of balls on the field. Aragon was also ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. The next Luray batter, Dee Brown was also ejected by Featherman for arguing Salcedo’s first pitch which was called a strike. Brown was replaced by Adam Innerst, who entered the at bat with already a strike on him. Salcedo went on to strike out Innerst, before being replaced by sophomore, Tim Gudex (Iowa University), who struck out the final batter of the inning. Bocock’s display seemed to set the tone for the Wranglers, as they performed perfectly in the field for the next three innings and added a fourth run to the scoreboard. The TURKS were held scoreless from the sixth through the eighth inning; however, the pressure to score in the ninth, seemed to fuel the TURKS as they rallied to score two runs and collect a win on the night. The ninth inning began with the Wrangler’s getting pinch hitter, Pat Caldwell (Freshman, Yavapai Junior College), to ground out to short. The rally began however; when left fielder, Jeff Halbert (Junior, Rollins College), dove into first, beating out an infielder roller. The Wrangler’s pitching staff struck out the next batter faced, collecting out number two. The TURKS however were not about to fold. Next batter, centerfielder, Reggie Watson (Junior, Indiana University), reached first on a walk, bringing up first baseman, Joe Kemp (Junior, Indiana University), with runners on first on second. Kemp fouled off the first two pitches, but was able to work the count to three balls and two strikes, before beating out an infield hit, scoring Halbert and tying the game at four. With two outs and runners on first and second, catcher, Matt Weglarz (Sophomore, SW Missouri State) came to the plate, 1-4 on the night. Weglarz got behind early in the count, but with two strikes, manufactured a game winning single to right field, scoring Watson and securing the 5-4 win for the TURKS. The TURKS produced 12 hits on the night and were lead by right fielder, Kevin Koski (Freshman, Southern Illinois), who went 3-5. Kemp and Weglarz, each added a pair, as did shortstop Gered Mochizuki (Freshman, Yavapai Junior College) (2-3). Mochizuki also connected on his first homer of the season, a solo shot that came in the bottom of the fifth. The TURKS defensively, were captained by Damian Salcedo, who went 5 2/3 innings for the TURKS, giving up four runs, off five hits, striking out four, and walking two. Relief came from Sophomore, Tim Gudex who last 2 1/3 innings for the TURKS, giving up zero runs, off one hit, striking out three, and walking none. Junior, Nick Pereria (University of San Francisco), finished the game for the TURKS, completing the ninth, giving up zero runs, off zero hits, striking out the side and walking none. Pereria (4-0) was credited with the win; his fourth of the season. The TURKS will be off tomorrow in observance of the fourth, however, will return home Monday, July 5, to host the Staunton Braves. Game time is 7:30. The TURKS would like to thank all of the fans in attendance tonight and especially the parents of the TURKS players that are visiting for the holiday. Have a safe and happy 4th of July! God Bless America! Go TURKS!