6/03/2007 – Daily News Record
Staunton Stops Harrisonburg, 5-1 Written By Marcus Helton Daily News Record HARRISONBURG — It took one swing for the Harrisonburg Turks to seize the momentum in Monday’s Valley Baseball League game with Staunton, and just one more for the Braves to take it right back. Three batters after Harrisonburg catcher Mike Pericht’s fifth-inning home run tied the score at 1-1, Staunton’s David Burns hit a two-run shot to put the Braves ahead for good en route to a 5-1 win. Monday’s game had the makings of a pitchers’ duel from the start, as Staunton’s Chad Sherman came in having yielded just five hits in his previous 17 innings of work, and Harrisonburg’s Tim Wheeler hadn’t allowed an earned run in nearly 19 innings. Both turned in six solid innings of work Monday, but in the end it was Sherman who walked away with the victory, as the 6-foot-5, 215-pound freshman from Panola Junior College (Tx.) allowed just two hits and a run while striking out three and walking one. Wheeler – a 6-3, 215-pound sophomore from Troy University – gave up five hits and two earned runs while striking out two and walking none. Unfortunately, it was his lone poor pitch – a 3-1 fastball with a man on first – that made the difference. "Sherman’s one of our best," Staunton manager Lance Mauck said. "Actually, I think both guys pitched well. Sherman made one bad pitch on the home run, and Wheeler made one bad pitch on his home run and that was the difference in the game. We were just lucky to have a guy on base." The Braves (13-11) struck first Monday, with Stetson catcher Joshua Clendinin tagging up and scoring from third base on Zach Barrett’s sacrifice fly in the third inning. The Turks (15-7) looked ready to storm back, after Pericht – a sophomore from Saint Joseph’s – crushed Sherman’s 3-0 offering over the 370-foot sign in centerfield to tie the game. Staunton answered right back in the top of the sixth, though. After Middle Tennessee State’s Barrett reached on an infield single, Burns – a senior at Old Dominion – hit a deep fly over the fence in right field to put the Braves up 3-1. "I knew it was close," Burns said. "I didn’t know for sure it was going to be out, but obviously, I knew I hit it pretty good, so I figured it was either going to hit the fence or get out. Luckily for me, it got out." In the bottom of the eighth, the Turks put a runner on first with no outs against Staunton reliever Robbie Conver (Barry University), but hit three consecutive second-pitch pop-ups to end the threat. "We weren’t taking pitches like we normally do," Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said. "We were hitting on the first pitch and popping it up. … You have to wait ’em out there a little bit and try to get some base runners, and hopefully you get your 2,3,4,5 hitters up there, and maybe someone can pop one out of the ballpark and win the ball game. But of course, that didn’t happen." The loss was Harrisonburg’s fourth in it’s past six games, and dropped them to 1 ½ games behind first-place Waynesboro in the standings. "We’ve got a great ball club," Wease said. "We’ve got great players, we really do. I honestly believe every Valley League team will go through a spell where they’ll go 2-4, 2-5, and won’t hit, won’t field, won’t do anything. The teams that can – when they’re in a bad slump like that – play .500 ball, will be the teams that’ll come out on top. We’re in a slump right now." Staunton 001 002 020 — 5 7 0 Harrisonburg 000 010 000 — 1 2 3 Sherman, Conver (7), Hernandez (9) and Clendinin. Wheeler, Klumpp (7), Parker (8) and Pericht. W- Sherman (2-1). L- Wheeler (2-1). HR – S: Burns (2). H: Pericht (2).