06/17/2008 – Daily News Record
Turks Nip Rebels, 6-5 Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record NEW MARKET — Even once the fans had cleared the bleachers, the players had clung close to the dugouts, and the umpires had left to find cover, Bob Wease remained alone on the field. The Harrisonburg Turks’ owner/manager paced back and forth behind home plate instead of seeking shelter, as if by showing that he could handle the rain, he could convince the umps they should play through it. Wease had a major motive to keep Monday’s game from being called. His Turks were up 6-4 against New Market in the bottom of the seventh inning when the water and lightning came, but three of Harrisonburg’s runs had come in the top of the inning and would evaporate if the contest weren’t continued. By rule, when a game is called after becoming official, the score reverts back to the last completed inning. "I’m asking the big guy in the sky, ‘Hey, let’s stop the rain,’" Wease said. Whether Wease’s pleas to "the big guy" had anything to do with it or not, the manager got his wish. The rain and lightning stopped, play resumed after a 54-minute delay, and the Turks held on to beat the Rebels, 6-5 in a Valley Baseball League game in Rebel Park. The win is a big one for the Turks, who are finally building some momentum after a brutal start. With their third straight win, they improved to 5-9 and escaped the cellar of the VBL’s Southern Division. "This is a big win," Wease said. "We got our ballclub here, the guys are starting to play a little bit. … Everybody’s doing their jobs." The most important case in point was Michael Precise, a junior outfielder from Troy who spent most of the game on the bench. A solo home run by New Market first baseman Murray Watts (Arkansas State) had put the Rebels up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. The Turks got a leadoff double from pinch-hitter Brett Stewart, moved him to third on a groundout by center fielder Chris Murphy, and put another runner on when right fielder Drew Johnson drew a walk. Shortstop B.J. Wheeler struck out, however, and the Turks needed Precise, who was pinch-hitting to come through to keep from wasting the inning. Precise fell behind 0-2, but flew a 1-2 fastball from New Market left-hander David Zappacosta over the right fielder’s head to score Stewart and Johnson, putting the Turks up 5-4. "He kept working me away with fastballs," Precise said. "He gave me another fastball on the outside corner, and I was just lucky enough to get enough of it to get it over his head. He gave me a fastball away, and I just took it that way." Second baseman Landon Camp followed with an RBI single to make it 6-4. After the rain delay, the Rebels scored on an RBI single by shortstop Jeff Toth in the bottom of the seventh, but left-hander Justin Wood struck out five batters in the last 2 1/3 to get the victory. The Turks had initially taken the lead on a two-run double in the second inning by first baseman Patrick Luehring, then went up 3-0 on a sacrifice fly in the third by left fielder David Mann. New Market –rallied back with a two-run single by center fielder Riley Cooper in the fourth and an RBI double by catcher Nick Stanley in the bottom of the fifth before Watts’ homer in the sixth. Harrisonburg 021 000 300 — 6 9 2 New Market 000 211 100 — 5 8 1 Thomas, Wood (6) and Pericht; Malone, Seymour (5), Gentzler (6), Zappacosta (7), Burch (7), Crum (8) and Stanley. W-Wood (2-1). L-Zappacosta (0-1). HR- N: Watts.