7/12/2006 – Daily News Record
Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire Woodstock Beats Harrisonburg 3-2 On Dampened Wild Pitch The rain never intensified beyond a drizzle and only lasted two innings, but it was enough to help score the winning run. A light shower passed over Harrisonburg’s Memorial Stadium beginning in the fifth and it subsided by the bottom of the seventh, but that was a half-inning too late for the Turks. Locked in a 2-2 tie with Woodstock in the top of the seventh, Harrisonburg left-hander Justin Wood faced Blake Tekotte with a runner on third base and two outs. Wood, however, gripped his first-pitch curve ball a little too tight, breaking it into the dirt some two feet shy of the necessary 60 feet, 6 inches to reach the plate. The wild pitch skipped past catcher Matt Denker, allowing Woodstock’s Nolan Brannon to scamper home from third with the winning run in the River Bandits’ 3-2 upset of the Turks in Tuesday’s Valley League baseball game. "It just started to rain, and it was on my mind," said Wood, a Turner Ashby High School graduate and current James Madison hurler who threw eight innings and allowed just three runs on nine hits and no walks. "I tried to choke it a little more, and I just spiked it in front of Denker." The Turks (16-13) would’ve matched the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning, if not for a great defensive play from Woodstock right fielder Ryan Jones. After Clint Robinson led off the inning with a double for Harrisonburg and moved to third on David Dennis’ ground out to the second baseman, Denker hit a 1-2 pitch the opposite way. Jones gave chase to his left and, because he is a left-handed fielder, was able to make quick catch and release without having to spin his body. His throw reached home on one bounce and Brannon, the catcher, tagged out Robinson just before he could sneak his hand onto the outside corner of the plate. "In the eighth inning, down by a run, you’ve got to try it," said Robinson, who went 2-for-3 with a walk. "He’s got to make a perfect throw, and that’s obviously what he did." River Bandits leadoff hitter Michael Ross tormented the Turks with his speed and aggressiveness. He drilled Wood’s first pitch of the game into centerfield and stretched it into a double when he saw Ryan Rachal was slow in retrieving it. He stole third and scored on a groundout. He also added an RBI in the fifth with a triple into the right-field corner. "That’s typical Michael Ross," manager Donny Foltz said of the second baseman from Northwest Mississippi Community College. "He leaves it all out on the field. You can’t blink, or you’ll miss something." Woodstock starting pitcher David Stringer of Stanford University yielded two runs – both unearned – in 7 1/3 innings. Second baseman Gary Martoccio had two singles and scored both Harrisonburg runs. It was the first win for Woodstock (7-22) in five meetings with Southern Division rival Harrisonburg this season and only its second win over the Turks in its three seasons in the VBL. More distressing to Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease than the loss to the league’s last-place team was his team’s middling offense the past two nights. "We hit the ball hard and could not get a hit," Wease said. "… We’ve scored just two runs in 18 innings. To win games, you have to score runs." Woodstock 100 010 100 — 3 10 2 Harrisonburg 001 010 000 — 2 7 2 Stringer, Fowler (8) and Brannon; Wood, Butts (9) and Denker. W – Stringer (1-1). L – Wood (2-2). S – Fowler (3). HR – None.