7/13/05 – Daily News Record
By DUSTIN DOPIRAK Daily News-Record So how good is this Luray team? How tough is it to beat the Wranglers, who beat Harrisonburg 9-3 Tuesday to increase their winning streak to 10 games? If you ask the Turks’ pitcher they pounded in Tuesday night’s Valley League baseball game at Memorial Stadium, pretty tough. "They were hitting everything I threw," said Harrisonburg starter Sean Jarrett of Arizona, whom the Wranglers chased after 4 2/3 innings with nine hits and eight runs, four of them earned. "They looked better than any team I played out there in the Pac-10." That’s high praise coming from Jarrett, who was 2-0 with a 2.04 earned run average in three Valley League starts for the16-13 Turks. It also shows just how far this Luray team has come. With a skeleton crew of a team in early June, the Wranglers (22-9) lost six of their first eight games, and manager Mike Bocock was looking to the Rockingham County Baseball League to find fill-ins while most of the players on his roster were still in the NCAA tournament. Since reinforcements arrived in mid-June, however, the Wranglers have gone on a tear — they’ve won 20 of 22 — and catapulted themselves to first place in the Valley League’s Northern Division. "Luray has done a complete 360," Turks manager Bob Wease said. "The first time we played them, they were not very good at all. Mike’s done a great job of getting players. They’re going to be hard to beat." Especially when they’re getting contributions from players like right fielder Michael Harrington (College of Charleston), who entered Tuesday’s contest hitting .229. He put the Turks in a 4-0 hole with a two-run, gap shot double to right-center field in the third inning, then hit another RBI-double over right fielder Matt Bristow’s head in the fifth. He finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a single and three RBIs. "I felt a lot better tonight," Harrington said. "I’ve kind of been struggling. I just told myself to get in there and swing no matter what, if I see anything anywhere near close to take a hack." The Wranglers also got runs on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Daniel Murphy (Jacksonville) and an RBI single by shortstop Doug Nelms (West Virginia) in the third. In the fifth, after catcher Eddy Rodriguez (Miami) opened the inning with a double, Nelms singled him home to give the Wranglers a 5-0 lead. Harrington followed with his second double to drive in Nelms and first baseman Adam Amar (Memphis), followed with another double to score Harrington. Amar then scored when a groundball by second baseman Tyson Auer (Central Florida) scooted underneath the glove of Harrisonburg second baseman Tony Thomas Jr. (Florida State) into right field. Luray pitcher Drew Shamrock (Denison) blanked the Turks for five innings before faltering in the sixth and giving new life to the Turks. That was when Harrisonburg scored its three runs on an RBI- double by third baseman Danny Ramirez (Yavapai Junior College), a wild pitch that scored center fielder Lucas Delong (San Francisco) and an RBI-single by designated hitter Matt Sluder (James Madison) to cut the deficit to 8-3. Luray relievers Kris Calhoun (Centenary) and Jeff Martinez (Louisiana-Lafayette) kept the Turks off the board the rest of the way, however, and Luray left fielder Stan Posluszny (West Virginia) hit a ninth-inning home run to cap the scoring. Luray 004 040 001 — 9 12 3 Harrisonburg 000 003 000 — 3 5 2 Shamrock, Calhoun (6), Martinez (9) and Rodriguez, Saunders (9). Jarrett, Baugh (5), Butts (6), Wheeler (9) and Martinez. WP-Shamrock (3-0). LP-Jarrett (2-1). HR-Posluszny (2).