6/23/2006 – Daily News Record
Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire Staunton beat Harrisonburg 2-1 in the VBL on Thursday. Even the winning coach said it was a shame that a controversial call decided the contest. In the top of the third inning in a 1-1 baseball game, Staunton’s Chris Wilkins tried to score from second base on Matt Hacker’s single up the middle. Harrisonburg center fielder Ryan Hanlon fielded the ball cleanly, and his throw to catcher Brandon Harrigan beat Wilkins to the plate. What happened next was unclear, and no one even seemed to know what to argue. Wilkins slid headfirst to the foul-territory side of the plate as Harrigan tried to apply the tag. The home-plate umpire called Wilkins safe with what proved to be the game-winning run in Staunton’s 2-1 Valley League victory, but whether Harrigan tagged Wilkins, whether Wilkins touched the plate and which order the two events might have happened remained in dispute. "I know I tagged him," Harrigan said. "The umpire said that he got to the plate before I tagged him, but I don’t know if that’s true. Personally, I think he missed the call." Said Staunton coach Lance Mauck: "He didn’t tag him. Now, whether he touched the plate, I don’t know." Added Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease: "The guy was out. The guy never got the plate – that’s what I saw." It was a tough call on a bang-bang play, with Turks starter Shawn Joy getting ejected for arguing, and Mauck neatly summarized the sentiment shared by both teams. "It’s just a shame the game has to be decided on how the umpires react," he said. The other sentiment held by the Turks (9-9) was that it was a shame to leave 11 men on base. Staunton left-hander Wade Korpi of Notre Dame shrugged off a difficult first inning in which he loaded the bases before Clint Robinson soared a deep fly ball on which Braves center fielder Mike Mitchell made a diving catch for a sacrifice fly. Korpi stranded the bases loaded in the sixth and skirted out of two-on, one-out trouble in the seventh. "In the first inning, I was throwing more offspeed pitches, which weren’t really on today," said Korpi, who threw seven innings with eight strikeouts and allowed five hits and four walks. "The second through seventh innings, I was just trying to get ahead with my fastball, and I was staying with it. My fastball was getting all of my outs today." Staunton (10-8) extended its winning streak to five games and was paced offensively by Hacker and Tyler Brown, who both had two hits and an RBI. The Turks’ lone batter with multiple hits was left fielder Evan Leblanc, who went 3-for-5. Staunton 101 000 000 — 2 7 2 Harrisonburg 100 000 000 — 1 7 0 Korpi, McGahey (8), Torcise (9) and Engelhardt; Joy, VanZant (3), Butts (9) and Harrigan. W – Korpi (2-0). L – Joy (1-3). S – Torcise (3).