7/22/2006 – Daily News Record
Daily News Record Written By Joe Lemire Catcher Brandon Harrigan’s grounder got past Front Royal second baseman Chad Green to give Harrisonburg a 5-4 win. It lacks the glamour of a walk-off home run and it didn’t even go into the scorer’s book as a hit, but Brandon Harrigan still created the game-winning run with his bat. With runners at first and second and the score knotted at four in the bottom of the ninth, Harrigan, the Turks’ catcher, drilled an outside fastball to the right side of the infield. As the ball hit dirt, it exploded past Front Royal second baseman Chad Green, who waved his glove past the ball the way a matador waves a red flag by a bull. That allowed pinch-runner Gary Martoccio to score from second and gave Harrisonburg a 5-4 win. Officially, it was an error, but the ruling didn’t faze Harrigan. "I was just trying to make something happen," the rising senior at Oklahoma City University said. "Whatever to win." With a win and a Waynesboro loss to Woodstock, the Turks (22-16) now trail the Generals (24-14) by just two games with four left to play, including tonight’s home contest for Harrisonburg between the two contenders at 7:30 p.m. The Turks staged a late-inning comeback just to tie the game on Friday. Front Royal left-handed starter Josh Lett of Georgia Perimeter threw seven strong innings, allowing just two runs (one earned), and left with a 4-2 lead. Harrisonburg took out its pent-up frustration on reliever Matt McCarty in the eighth. After flailing at a 2-1 curve ball low and away, Harrisonburg left fielder Evan LeBlanc saw the pitch again on the 2-2 count, but this time he poked it into left-center field for a two-RBI double. "He came back with it," said LeBlanc, a Yavapai Junior College player, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. "I definitely was fooled. … I was looking hard-in or a change-up away, but I was able to work with it." The game started only nine minutes late despite a steady pregame drizzle, but Harrisonburg starter Jonathan Vallen might have needed more time. He yielded two runs in the first inning on two hits and two walks. The Cardinals (15-23), led by two hits apiece from Jordan Karnofsky and Dustin Bennett, took a 4-1 advantage through the top half of the seventh, before seeing the lead slip away. "Huge disappointment," Front Royal coach Chad Oxendine said. "I felt like we had them where we wanted them." Normal Turks starter Matt Baugh, who Wease said he’s conserving for a playoff start, got the win after allowing one run in three innings in relief. Shortstop Bobby Spain had a single and a double – his fifth straight game with multiple hits. It’s been a remarkable comeback for a Turks team that lost its first six games of the season. "We started off the season 0-6 – we were buried," Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease said. "But we have won 22 and lost 10 in our last 32 games. That’s pretty remarkable in a summer league." Front Royal 200 001 100 – 4 9 3 Harrisonburg 010 000 121 – 5 11 0 Lett, McCarty (8), Bergh (8) and Seip; Vallen, Baugh (7) and Harrigan. W – Baugh (4-1). L – Bergh (0-3). HR – None.