07/10/2008 – Staunton News Leader
Staunton survives two bases-loaded situations Written By Shaun T Cox Staunton News Leader STAUNTON — The Staunton Braves took advantage of timely pitching, hitting and even a trick play to grind out a 7-4 win over the Harrisonburg Turks in Valley Baseball League action on Tuesday night at John Moxie Memorial Stadium. "They had bases loaded with no outs twice, and got one run out of it," Staunton manager Lance Mauck said. "We got lucky, and I’d rather be lucky than good." Staunton starter Lance Baxter gave up a first-inning home run to center to Chris Murphy, but the Braves got the run right back in the bottom half after Max Most drew a walk and scored from first on a hit-and-run double into the gap by Blake McDade. Michael Precise led off the fourth with a single and went to third on a single off the wall in right by B.J. Wheeler, who fell making the turn to second but was able to scramble back. Brett Stewart loaded the bases with a broken-bat blooper into short right field, but Baxter struck out the next three hitters to end the threat. "I was getting worked up," Baxter said about the way the inning was going. "I was getting a little frustrated after they got three straight hits. That’s something you don’t want as a pitcher. When a guy comes up bases loaded with no outs, all you want is a ground ball. We just wanted to stay inside on the righties, and it just happened to work out that I was able to throw my breaking balls for strikeouts." McDade then crushed the first pitch he saw deep over the fence in right-center to give the Braves a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. The Turks tied things up in their half of the fifth after Drew Johnson hit a two-out single, followed by a run-scoring double off the wall in right by Precise. The Braves’ Brad Hammac hit a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth, and Stephen Branca hit one off pitcher Garrett Parker’s backside. Parker tried to recover, but made a bad throw to first, allowing Hammac to reach third. Hammac then scored on a double steal when Branca got himself purposely caught in a rundown, and Hammac slid under the tag of catcher Mike Pericht. Branca then scored on a single by Donovan Huffer to give the Braves a 4-2 lead. Donald Howell came on to pitch the seventh for the Braves and gave up a leadoff walk to Mark Brooks, who scored on a single by Precise to close the gap to 4-3. After a one-batter appearance, which resulted in a walk by Craig Gillett, Gerard Sokolis came onto the mound and tricked Wheeler into making a move toward second, where he was tagged out after a double rundown with Precise. Sokolis never even threw a pitch. The Braves struck again in the bottom of the seventh after four straight singles scored Matt Browning. Huffer then scored Hammac with a single, and Branca scored on the Braves’ second double steal of second and home of the game to push the lead to 7-3 after seven. The Turks loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with no one out, but Josh Squatrito came on and struck out the side after giving up a run-scoring base hit. Baxter gave up two earned runs off eight hits in six innings, while striking out seven and walking none. McDade, Branca and Hammac each had two hits, and Branca and Hammac both scored twice. HARRISONBURG 100 010 101 — 4 13 2 STAUNTON 100 120 30x — 7 10 1 Parker, Sonen (7) and Pericht. Baxter, Howell (7), Gillett (7), Sokolis (7), Ferguson (8), Oxley (8), Squatrito (9) and Hammac, Stifler (9). W — Baxter. L — Parker. HR — Murphy (H) 1st, none on; McDade (S) 4th, none on.