07/12/2008 – Daily News Record
Harrisonburg Tops Generals, 5-4 Written By Matthew Stoss Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – For the first time in two years at a Harrisonburg Turks home game, someone won the $1,000 prize attached to the Domino’s Pizza Toss on Friday. After making the winning throw on his first try, one man became a grand richer and celebrated copiously – something the Turks haven’t been able to do a lot recently. Harrisonburg had lost four out of five games coming into Friday’s Valley Baseball League game against the Waynesboro Generals – the first-place team in the South Division. But surprisingly, after three errors and blowing an early lead, the Turks did get to celebrate as if they won $1,000. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Drew Johnson smacked an RBI single that scored Michael Precise, and gave Harrisonburg a 5-4 win over the Generals. "It feels good to get a come-from-behind win," said Johnson, a right fielder from San Francisco. "It’s been a tough year from the team’s perspective." Johnson, who was hitting a team-best .387 before Friday’s game, finished 1-for-4. "I was looking to hit something to left side," Johnson said of his game-winning single. "I didn’t get all of it, but I got enough of it to get it through the infield." Despite being 11-19, the Turks still have a shot at making the VBL’s eight-team playoff, which is comprised of the top three teams from each division and the two teams with the next best records. After Friday’s win, Harrisonburg is the ninth team, but has 14 games remaining. "It’s a big deal to make the playoffs," Turks manager Bob Wease said. "Winning the pennant shows who’s the best team after 44 games. Winning the playoffs shows who’s the best team for the whole season." So far, it hasn’t been the Turks. But after Friday, that could be starting to change. Harrisonburg, which has now won two of its last three, had just six hits, but they were timely. Down 4-3 in the eighth, the Turks strung together three consecutive hits: a double by Chris Murphy (Southern Illinois), an RBI single by Precise (Troy) and then Johnson’s single. Precise, the team’s first baseman, finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Murphy, the center fielder, finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. He also had a two-run single in the third inning. "It’s a big win," Wease said. "We’ve been taking it on the button all year. … Tonight, we really hung in there." After spotting Waynesboro (20-10) a 2-0 lead, the Turks scored three runs in the bottom of the third on Murphy’s two-run single and a fielder’s choice by Precise. The Generals tied the game in the fifth inning when third baseman Evan Webb reached after getting hit, and scored on an RBI groundout by catcher Austin Morgan. Of Waynesboro’s four runs, only two were earned. "I just thought, ‘Here we go again,’" Wease said. Turks’ starter Matt Chaffee, though, kept them in the game. The left-hander from Arizona pitched six innings, allowed two earned runs, four hits and five walks – only one of which scored. Waynesboro reclaimed the lead, 4-3, in the seventh when it scored one run off an error by Turks left fielder Dave Mann (Oklahoma City). The Generals threatened in the ninth, getting a man on, but Justin Wood – a Turner Ashby High School grad now playing at James Madison – came on and struck out the final two batters to pick up his second save. Waynesboro 011 010 100 – 4 6 1 Harrisonburg 003 000 02x – 5 6 3 Cowan, Sokolowski (8), Fleck (8) and Morgan, Scherer; Chaffee, Sonen (7), Wood (9) and Tutwiler. W – Sonen (1-2). L – Fleck (0-2). S – Wood (2).