7/02/2007 – Daily News Record
Brantley’s Gem Carries Harrisonburg Past Woodstock Written By Matthew Stoss HARRISONBURG – Rod Brantley had a very simple explanation about why he felt so good Sunday night. His reasoning was concise, succinct and – considering Brantley is a pitcher – entirely obvious. "I felt like I had command of all my pitches," the Harrisonburg Turks starter said. "That’s why I felt so good." Brantley used his low-90s fastball, a cutter, slider and changeup to toss eight shutout innings, while the Turks got hits from all but two starters, beating the Woodstock River Bandits 11-3 in a Valley Baseball League game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. "The guys came out hitting," Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said. "We even had a little fun at the end letting the pitchers hit." Maybe fun is what’s been missing. Entering Sunday’s game, the Turks (15-6) had lost three out of four and dropped out of first place. Harrisonburg is now 1 ½ games behind Waynesboro, with the Generals winning Sunday. "It’s just the way things happen," Wease said. "The last few games, the guys have been sluggish. You play seven, eight, nine days in a row and it can wear you out in a hurry. "Maybe that night off helped." After a rainout Friday and an off-day Saturday, the Turks came back to score 11 runs on 19 hits behind Brantley (2-1), who threw 94 pitches through eight innings. The right-hander from Oklahoma City University gave up three hits, struck out six, walked one and lowered his ERA to 1.03. Against Woodstock (13-9), Brantley allowed his first extra-base hit of the season through 26 1/3 innings – a two-out double in the bottom of the fifth. In total, he has given up only nine hits. "He did a great job," Woodstock manager Donn Foltz said. "You just have to tip your hat to him. He kept us off-balance." Brantley faced the minimum through three innings and had four 1-2-3 innings. "He’s just a quality starter," Turks outfielder Robert Taylor said. "He’s got four very good pitches that he can throw for strikes. It’s makes it really hard for the hitters because you can’t gear up on the fastball." Wease said he pulled Brantley after the eighth in favor of the health of his starter’s right arm and so Jonathan Vallen could get some work. "I just decided to take one for the team," Brantley said. Taylor, from Arkansas-Little Rock, went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run home run off a hanging curveball in the fourth inning. The shot cleared the football stands beyond the left-field wall and put the Turks up 6-0 after they scored one second and three in the third. Harrisonburg added one more in the fifth inning, three in the sixth and one in the eighth. The first time the two teams met, the Turks crushed the River Bandits 19-2 in Woodstock on June 6. Woodstock 000 000 003 – 3 5 1 Harrisonburg 013 213 01x – 11 19 0 Eidell, Kahn (5), Harmych (7), Simpson (8) and Palasini; Brantley, Vallen (9) and Franco. W – Brantley (2-1). L – Eidell (3-1). HR – H: Taylor (2).