06/06/2008 – The Winchester Star
Written By David Selig The Winchester Star Winchester — By both managers’ admissions, the Winchester Royals’ 8-1 win over Harrisonburg on Thursday night didn’t feature much instruction from the men sharing the third base coach’s box. Following his team’s fourth straight victory, Winchester’s John Lowery Jr. acknowledged that "it’s definitely easier to manage a game when you’re five or six runs up." Even easier when your starter cruises through four perfect innings for the second straight night and your team out-hits its opponent 13-2. And for Harrisonburg’s Bob Wease, there wasn’t a whole lot to do but enjoy the warm weather at Bridgeforth Field. "(You) just go over to the third base (box), stand there and act like a dummy," he said. "You can’t give any signs or nothing if you can’t get anybody on." Winchester starting pitcher Andrew White allowed just two hits over seven innings Thursday night in the Royals’ 8-1 Valley Baseball League victory over Harrisonburg. (Ginger Perry) The Turks (2-3) had only four runner reach base in the game, scoring their lone run on a Landon Camp homer with one out in the fifth. That was the first hit for Harrisonburg and the only time a Turk crossed Wease’s path at the third-base bag. Two nights after the Royals’ Tyler Thornburg carried a perfect game into the sixth, his Charleston Southern teammate Andrew White retired the first 13 batters he faced. White (1-1) handed the first-place Royals (4-1) their fifth quality start of the season, surrendering the run on two hits and one walk and striking out seven in seven innings. The only threat he faced after the home run was when Harrisonburg placed runners on first and second with one out in the sixth. White got Chris Murphy to chase an off-speed pitch for a strikeout, then induced a grounder to short from Michael Precise. Lowery said he felt White didn’t even have his best stuff Thursday, but his counterpart was still impressed. "The lefthander White is pretty doggone good," Wease said. "He was here last year, and I knew we were in for a tough battle when I found out he was pitching." It didn’t take long for Wease to realize he was in deeper trouble when the Royals continued their strong start at the plate. Wes Borden led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple to right field, and Kyle Galbraith promptly drove him home with a single to left. Grant Simotes singled to start the third, and Galbraith plated him with a two-out base hit. Borden (2-for-4) and Galbraith (3-for-5) both singled in the fifth and scored on productive outs from Tyler Townsend and Jordan Ballard. Micky Wiswall went 3-for-4 for the second straight game, scoring one of three insurance runs in the seventh. Winchester’s Grant Simotes dives safely into second base during Thursday night’s 8-1 VBL victory over Harrisonburg at Bridgeforth Field. Simotes stole three bases in the game. (Ginger Perry) During the team’s current four-game winning streak, Winchester has averaged better than 10 hits per game, which Galbraith suggests is contagious. "That’s the way baseball always is," the center fielder from Western Michigan said. "As soon as a couple guys start hitting, it seems to jump on with everybody." Winchester didn’t need a hit to score in the sixth. Simotes was hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced to third when the throw drifted into center field. After Borden walked, he stole second, drawing a throw that allowed Simotes to steal home without a play at the plate. While the Royals have produced from one through nine in the order, Wease is still sorting though a drawer of mismatched socks to formulate a lineup. Harrisonburg is missing 12 players who are expected to join the team. That has especially hurt on the mound. "We’ve played five games in (six) days with six pitchers," Wease said. "It’s pretty hard to win when you do that. I’m just hoping the first eight to 10 games I can play .500, then I hope we can make a run — which I think we will." Chase Sonen (0-2) started and surrendered four earned runs on 10 hits in 42/3 innings for the Turks. Jordan Smith allowed four unearned runs in 31/3 innings of relief. Playing his first game of the season, Winchester returnee Mike Dufek went 1-for-3 with an RBI as the designated hitter, then took the mound to pitch two hitless innings of relief. Of course, with all the recent success and more talented players coming on, Lowery won’t skate by without challenges of his own. "I think the winning keeps the kids engaged, no doubt. It’s a lot more fun to come to the ballpark when you’re winning," he said. "The biggest problem I have is getting everybody a good number of at-bats and keep them happy. We have a lot of decent players, and it’s going to be tough. We might be playing different lineups every other night, just to get everybody in the game. "We’re going to have a streak, I’m sure, where we’re going to lose some games, and (this start) will maybe give us a little security. But it’s still only five games. There’s 39 more to go, so it’s a long summer."