7/24/2007 – Daily News Record
Harrisonburg Beats Waynesboro, 7-5 Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record HARRISONBURG — Just in case it wasn’t already obvious, the Harrisonburg Turks’ celebration showed just how important Tuesday’s win was. When first baseman David Dennis gathered the throw from second baseman Charlie Calamia for the final out in the 7-5 victory over Waynesboro, the Turks sprang from the dugout like they’d just won a playoff game. The outfielders were doing chest bumps as they ran onto the field, and the infielders did everything but pile on closer Garret Parker. Yep, this one was big. With the victory, the Turks (26-13) cut Waynesboro’s lead in the Valley Baseball League to 2½ games. Harrisonburg has just five games left in the regular season and the Generals are down to four, so a comeback still won’t be easy, but it would’ve been nearly impossible had the Turks lost. "If we lose this game tonight, there’s no way we win the pennant," Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said. "This was a big game for us — it kept us alive." The Turks stayed alive in large part because their bats came alive. The seven-run output was their highest since July 11 when they scored eight runs against Fauquier. Six of those runs came in a wild fourth inning against Waynesboro ace Jon Dages (Butler), who came into the game with a spotless 6-0 record, a 1.07 earned run average and 40 strikeouts against just three walks in 50 2/3 innings. The Turks took advantage of that control, looking for fastballs early in the count and attacking. Shortstop Ryan Wood (East Carolina) opened the inning by ripping a first-pitch fastball to the left-center field gap for a double. Right fielder Robert Taylor (Arkansas-Little Rock) followed by working a walk and Dennis (Oklahoma City) singled through the right side to load the bases. Third baseman Brett Stewart (Appalachian State) started the scoring by lofting a fly ball to shallow right that Waynesboro right fielder Kent Burford (Lenoir C.C) never saw. It dropped in, allowing Wood to score. The next batter, catcher Andrew Franco (Appalachian State) ripped a first-pitch fastball for a double down the right field line to score Taylor and Dennis. "It was probably about a foot inside to be honest with you, and it broke my bat," Franco said. "But fortunately, I hit the middle of it. I was kind of lucky." Left fielder B.J. Wheeler followed that by ripping a first-pitch fastball over the right fielder’s head for a ground-rule double that scored two more runs. The next batter, designated hitter Mike Pericht (Saint Joseph’s), hit a slow roller to first base that Dages bobbled before picking it up for an unassisted out. Wheeler was moving, however, and though the throw from Dages beat him home, the umpire ruled that he slid around the tag to score. The Turks added a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Stewart, and that was plenty for starter Chris Chapman. The left-hander cruised though seven innings on just 82 pitches, striking out four batters while allowing just two runs on three hits. Waynesboro mounted a comeback in the ninth when shortstop Thomas Nelson ripped a fastball from reliever Jim Kennedy (Rider) over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, but Parker (Howard) got the last two outs for his sixth save. Waynesboro 000 110 003 — 5 4 2 Harrisonburg 000 610 00x — 7 9 0 Dages, Ardoin (5), Williamson (7) and Irvine, Morris (8); Chapman, Kennedy (8), Parker (9) and Franco. W-Chapman (4-1). L-Dages (6-1). S-Parker (6). HR-W-Nelson (3).