06/28/2008 – Daily News Record
Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record Struggling Turks Score Victory Over New Market HARRISONBURG – Bob Wease leapt from his chair next to the Harrisonburg Turks’ dugout and scrambled to the foul line to meet relief pitcher Chase Sonen at the end of the New Market half of the seventh inning. The diminutive Turks owner manager gave the 6-foot right-hander perhaps his most enthusiastic high-five of the season, kicking his left leg in the air as he made contact. It was a rare moment of joy and relief for Wease in a season that has included little of either. Sonen had halted what appeared to be another imminent Turks implosion, entering the game with the bases loaded and no one out in the inning and working out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched two more hitless innings to earn a save in Harrisonburg’s 2-0 win over the Rebels on Friday night in a Valley League Baseball game at Memorial Stadium. "It’s such a better thing when Bob Wease is happy," Sonen said after the game with a smile. "… I’ll tell you, when I slapped his hand, he was like a little kid out there." Wease’s happiness came in large part because he was expecting the worst. The Turks (8-14) entered the game just ½ game ahead of the Rebels (7-16) for the VBL’s worst record. Plus, the Turks had just blown a 4-0 lead the night before in a 9-4 loss to Waynesboro. The Turks had taken a two-run lead with a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Wilsisky Baez in the third and an RBI single by right fielder Michael Precise in the fourth. But in the seventh, things seemed ready to unravel. Though starting pitcher Chris Chapman, a left-hander from Bethune Cookman who had just arrived in town after summer school, had been stellar to that point, scattering three hits while striking out two batters in six scoreless innings, he left before getting an out in the inning. Instead, he surrendered a single to New Market first baseman Murray Watts (Arkansas State), then issued a walk to left fielder Riley Cooper (Florida). Catcher Will Davis (Pennsylvania) followed with a perfect bunt down the third-base line that Chapman couldn’t gather in time to even attempt to throw to first. "I was sitting there saying, ‘Here we go again,’" Wease said. "If you look back, a lot of the games we’ve been leading after five or six innings, we bring someone in and they just can’t get it done." But Sonen did. The junior right-hander from St. Joseph’s (Ind.) was spotting his low-90s fastball brilliantly and getting the few curves he threw to bite. He struck out New Market right fielder Brandon Kirsch with a high fastball, then got second baseman Brent Weiss to pop-up a 3-1 pitch. Finally, he got center fielder Kevin Dietrich looking on a fastball on the inside corner to finish the escape. He struck out two more batters in the next two innings, walking just one and allowing no hits for his first save of the year. "He was unbelievable," said catcher Mike Pericht, who is also the catcher at St. Joseph’s. "His fastball tonight is faster than he’s been all season. He was spotting it and just getting hitters out. He was great." Said Sonen: "As a pitcher [your dream] is holding a one or two-run lead, Game 7 of the World Series. This obviously isn’t Game 7 of the World Series, but for us, in a sense, it kind of is, because we need to turn this thing around. The games are piling up, and we have so much talent, I think it would really break our hearts to lose this game after we had a lead." New Market 000 000 000 – 0 5 2 Harrisonburg 001 100 00x – 2 3 0 Holloway and Davis; Chapman, Sonen (7) and Pericht. W-Chapman (1-0). L-Holloway (NA). S-Sonen (1).