6/29/2006 – Daily News Record
Spain’s RBI Gives The Burg 4-3 Victory Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire Trailing Luray 3-0 in the eighth inning, Harrisonburg rallied for three runs to tie the game – but left the go-ahead runner on third base. In the ninth, the Turks loaded the bases – and stranded everyone. The 10th, however, went a little differently, and it resulted in a 4-3 win for Harrisonburg. Anthony Soto drew a walk and was pushed to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Matt Denker. Into the box stepped shortstop Bobby Spain, who was 0-for-3 and looking to avenge a groundout that killed the eighth inning. Wranglers left-handed reliever A.J. Huttenlocker had started Soto and Denker with 3-0 counts and quickly fell behind 1-0 to Spain, making him anxious to come over with a strike. Expecting a fastball, Spain got the pitch he was looking for and roped it into center field, and Soto came around to score for the walkoff win when Travis Auer’s throw to the plate went sailing several feet up the third-base line. "The guy was struggling to throw strikes and got the other guys deep in the count before me, so I knew he was probably going to throw a fastball," Spain, who plays for Oklahoma City University, said. "… It feels good, man, especially since in the eighth we had a runner on third, two outs, and if I get it there, we don’t have to [play extra innings]. It’s kind of redemption." Soto, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound speedster from Rollins College, entered the game in the eighth as a pinch-runner for David Dennis and never hesitated in rounding third base. "When an opportunity comes up like that, you just go," he said. "He’s got to make a perfect throw like that to get me out." For a while, it appeared the Turks (10-8) would never get an opportunity at all. Reeling in part from a five-day layoff of rainouts and from a battery of left-handed pitchers, Harrisonburg’s hitters had trouble getting going. Luray starter Dusty Davis – the first of six pitcher and four left-handers employed by manager Mike Bocock – threw four no-hit innings to start the game. Harrisonburg didn’t manage its first hit until Josh Richardson led off the sixth with a high-chopper over reliever Jared Bradford. He became the second of four Turks to be left on third base. Harrisonburg’s big inning came in the eighth when a walk and a single put two runners on for the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in the Turks’ lineup – lefties Clint Robinson and Dennis. Bocock went to reliever Robbie Grimm – left-hander No. 3 for him – but Robinson singled on an 0-1 pitch to right to load the bases for the "Moose." After swinging through several early breaking balls, Dennis sat back, looking for the curve. He got it on an 0-1 count, ripping a double down the right-field line. "I knew since I missed, like, the first 15 thrown at me that I’d keep seeing them," Dennis, a San Diego City College player who is transferring to Oklahoma City, said. "As the DH, I was sitting on the bench and had time to think about it. I knew it was coming, so I waited for it." Two runs scored easily on the hit, and Robinson fell flat on his backside rounding third. Luray’s diverted its relay to third, forcing Robinson to dash home. The throw beat him to the plate, but he sidestepped the tag from catcher Justin Miller to score the tying run. "We pitched well through seven innings, but in the eighth inning we didn’t throw it well," Bocock said. "They hit the baseball around the park. We had lefty on lefty – he didn’t do the job, and they did." The Wranglers are 7-12. Luray 000 120 000 0 – 3 10 2 Harrisonburg 000 000 030 1 – 4 6 2 Davis, Bradford (5), Dykes (7), McKinney (8), Grimm (8), Huttenlocker (8) and Miller; Baugh, Wells (6), Dew (10) and Denker. W – Dew (1-0). L – Huttenlocker (0-1). HR – Kuhn, Wiley.