7/21/04 – Written by Denise Wampler, JMU Communications Intern
The Harrisonburg TURKS (25-12) posted their ninth come from behind win, this time winning in the bottom of the ninth off a wild pitch by the Loudoun Rangers (14-21). The TURKS, defeated the Rangers 11-10, after right fielder, Ryan Gotcher (SW Missouri State), scored on a wild pitch thrown by Loudoun’s closer, Yuri Higgins (South Florida). It was another back and forth game for the TURKS. The TURKS jumped to an early lead scoring one in the first and two more in the second. The Rangers answered back in the top of the third, scoring four and taking their first lead of the night. The TURKS however retaliated again in the fourth, scoring five runs off five hits. The Rangers went on to score two in the fourth and three more in the sixth. The TURKS manufactured two more runs, one in the fifth and another in the six, while being held scoreless in the seventh and eighth. The two squads entered the ninth inning with a 10-9 ballgame in favor of the home TURKS. The Rangers went on to score in the ninth off one hit and a TURKS error, tying the game at 10-10. The TURKS entered the ninth inning hoping to score the go ahead-winning run to avoid extra innings. A lead off walk was issued to Gotcher. Gotcher advanced to second on a passed ball. The Rangers were able to get the next two TURK batters out, getting catcher, Matt Sluder (James Madison), to pop up to the third baseman, and getting left fielder, Jeff Halbert (Rollins College)to ground out to short. Gotcher advanced to third on Halbert’s ground out. Next batter, centerfielder, Kevin Koski (Southern Illinois), was intentionally walked to set up the force out at second. Koski, went on to steal second, when the next batter, second baseman, C.J. Webb, was up to bat. Webb fought off a couple pitches, before scurrying out of the batters box due to a wild pitch which allowed Gotcher to score from third and gave the TURKS their 25th win of the season. The TURKS produced 11 hits on the night, three shy of Loudoun. The TURKS were lead by Koski (2-5), DH Matt Weglarz (SW Missouri State) (2-5), and Sluder (2-5), each contributing two hits a piece. The TURKS took advantage of the Ranger’s five errors in the field, and added hits to slip by the visitors. The TURKS were also not flawless, as they committed two errors on the night, allowing the Rangers to hang around. Nick Pereria (San Francisco) started the game for the TURKS, going six complete innings, giving up eight runs, off 10 hits, striking out eight, walking two, and hitting two. Relief came from Jeff Claybrook (Southwest Missouri State), and later from Scott Brune (U. Iowa). Brune was credited with the win and improved to 3-1 on the year. The TURKS will travel to Woodstock July 22, to play the Woodstock River Bandits and then to Waynesboro on July 23, to face the Waynesboro Generals. The TURKS will return home, Saturday, July 24 to host the Northern Division leader, the Winchester Royals. All games will begin at 7:30. Come out and support the leader of the Southern Division, your own Harrisonburg TURKS! Go TURKS!