6/16/2006 – Daily News Record
Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire Harrisonburg Wins Fifth Straight With 12-4 Rout Of Lumberjacks In the last two games, Harrisonburg’s starting pitchers have allowed just three hits. Meanwhile, the Turks’ batters tripled that total in just the fifth inning of Thursday night’s home Valley League contest against Covington and went on to rout the Lumberjacks 12-4 to extend their winning streak to five games. After losing their first six, the Turks (5-6) have won every game by at least five runs and are outscoring opponents 47-16. "We’re coming to the ballpark, just kind of asking, ‘Who we playing today because we’re going to win,’" first baseman Clint Robinson of Troy University said. "Team morale is up." With the fifth frame the Turks enjoyed, they may never stop smiling. Evan Leblanc led off the inning by pulling a high fastball for a solo home run that careened off the light tower beyond the left field fence for a 2-0 advantage. Kyle Spraker, struck out, but then the next 12 Turks all reached base and eight scored, keyed by the left-handed Robinson’s opposite-field grand slam. Roughly half the damage came against Lumberjack starter Ricky Bowen, who allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings, and the rest came against Eric Schanz, who provided no relief and yielded four runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings "They took advantage of our guy getting behind and walking people," said Covington manager Anthony Everman, who was ejected midway through the inning for arguing a ball ruled fair down the third-base line. "They put themselves in good position to get hits and move runners around. Defensively, there’s not really much we could have done." In all, 15 batters reached base and nine runs scored. Leblanc added a run-scoring double in his second at-bat of the inning and went on to finish the day 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored and five RBIs. "I’ve been swinging the bat well – they just haven’t been falling for me," the left fielder from Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, Ariz., said. "I’ve just been working hard out here in batting practice and working out in the cages, so I guess it paid off tonight." Nearly lost in the shuffle of the offensive explosion was a dominant pitching performance from southpaw Shawn Joy of Southern Illinois. Joy had been a tough-luck loser in his first two starts, allowing just earned runs in 14 innings and taking a 3-0 loss in his first game against the Lumberjacks (8-3) on June 3. He hit the batter he faced and walked three over the first three innings, which he attributed to no warming up properly, but shook off the early troubles and allowed only one hit – Rebel Ridling’s second-inning seeing-eye flare through the right side of the infield. Joy struck out five and earned his first win of the season. "That’s the thing about pitching – when you don’t have your good stuff, you’ve got to make something happen, and I was able to pull something out of somewhere," Joy said. "It also helps when you get a nine-run inning, and the defense played well behind me." Eight Harrisonburg starters scored a run, and all nine notched at least one hit, led by Leblanc’s four and two each from Ryan Rachal and Josh Dew. Covington managed only one hit for the first eight innings before scoring four runs – including a solo homer from Tommy Oravetz – off Harrisonburg reliever Jimmy Marshall in the ninth. Covington 000 000 004 – 4 4 2 Harrisonburg 010 090 02x – 12 14 0 Bowen, Schanz (5), Francis (8) and Duffy; Joy, Wells (7), Vallen (8), Marshall (9) and Harrigan. W – Joy (1-2). L – Bowen (1-1). HR – C: Oravetz (1); H: Leblanc (1), Robinson (1).