6/10/2008 – Daily News Record
Staunton Beats Harrisonburg, 3-1 Written By Dustin Dopirak STAUNTON – Bob Wease lowered his head, pinched the skin just above the top of his nose and rubbed continuously, as though he was trying to massage away a migraine headache. Metaphorically, at least, he was. "I don’t know the answer," the Harrisonburg Turks’ owner/manager said when he raised his head. "I don’t know. I really don’t." The source of his vexation was Harrisonburg’s bats, which the Staunton Braves’ three pitchers held to just one run on five hits while striking out 16 Turks in a 3-1 win in a Valley Baseball League game Monday night at John Moxie Stadium. The Braves (4-3) broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI double by third baseman Stephen Branca (Central Florida), then got an RBI single by right fielder Nick Siega-Riz for insurance. The Turks (2-7) lost their fifth straight game despite putting runners in scoring position in three of the last four innings, and despite a brilliant outing by left-hander Justin Wood, a rising senior at James Madison and a Turner Ashby High School graduate. "We can’t hit," Wease said. "We can’t hit. We had men on third with less than two outs like three or four times. All you gotta do is put the ball in play, but we can’t put the ball in play. I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. I know these guys are better hitters than what they’re showing me." The Turks, who were held to just one run for the third time during this losing streak, had an especially hard time hitting the ball early, when Staunton right-hander Shawn Kale (Central Florida) held Harrisonburg hitless for the first five innings. He struck out eight batters in that period, allowing just one runner to reach base on an error and facing the minimum number of hitters. Wood kept the game scoreless, however, for five innings while scattering three hits, yielding just one walk and striking out five batters. The Turks actually took the lead when catcher Mike Pericht (St. Joseph’s of Indiana) blasted a homer off Kale, who came out of the game three batters later. The Braves, however, got an RBI triple in the sixth from first baseman Blake McDade to tie it 1-1. Relievers Donald Howell (Bluefield) and Josh Squatrito (Towson) kept Harrisonburg from scoring again, and Branca and Siega-Riz sent Wease and the Turks off to shake their heads. Harrisonburg 000 001 000 – 1 5 2 Staunton 000 001 020 – 3 8 3 Wood, Sloan (6), Smith (8) and Pericht; Kale, Howell (6), Squatrito (8) and Stifler. W – Squatrito (1-0). L – Sloan (0-1). HR – H: Pericht (2).