6/12/2006 – Daily News Record
Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire WOODSTOCK – It was no more than a minor misstep, but it produced a major change in the ballgame. With the Harrisonburg Turks leading off the corner bases in the top of the sixth inning and the score tied 4-4, Woodstock relief pitcher Andy Helms faked a pickoff throw to third before spinning and firing to first. The home-plate umpire, however, ruled that Helms had stepped more toward the plate than toward third and signaled a balk. River Bandits manager Aaron Carroll came sprinting out of the dugout, fuming mad – and was promptly ejected for his nose-to-nose argument – but the game-winning run had already crossed home plate, and the Turks used back-to-back-to-back doubles in the ninth to add some insurance runs to win 9-4 in a Valley League baseball game Sunday night. Harrisonburg (3-6) now has a three-game winning streak, and Woodstock (2-6) has a six-game losing streak. "I don’t believe he balked for one minute," Carroll said after the game. "The umpire screwed it up. That’s typical of the way our season’s going." Meanwhile, Turks starting pitcher Tim Wheeler shook off a difficult first inning, yielding a run on two hits, a walk and a hit batsmen, before stranding the bases loaded en route to retiring 10 consecutive batters. Woodstock plated its final three runs in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in large part to a leadoff fielder error by Harrisonburg first baseman David Dennis and a high fly that left-fielder Evan Leblanc appeared to lose in the lights. The ball dropped unscathed some 15 feet to Leblanc’s left for an RBI-double for the Bandits’ Pedro Obergon. "I started off a little slow," Wheeler said. "That inning was on me. The runs were on me, but the guys had my back at the plate." Harrisonburg benefited from some wild Woodstock pitching. The Turks drew nine walks, including two to lead off innings, and four of the batters issued free passes came around to score. Leblanc and pinch hitter Ryan Rachal both had two hits to lead the Turks in victory. By improving their defense and filling out their roster, the Turks have turned their season around. "We’re not making errors like we were making the first six games," manager Bob Wease said. "… We’ll have all our ballclub in by Tuesday." Harrisonburg 100 013 004 – 9 9 1 Woodstock 100 030 000 – 4 8 1 Wheeler, Wells (8) and Morales, Denker; Lau, Simpson (6), Helms (6), Yokley (9), Dudley (9) and Brannon. W – Wheeler. L – Simpson. S – Wells. HR – None.