07/16/2008 – Staunton News Leader.com
Staunton wins its third straight game, 11-2 Written By Shaun T. Cox STAUNTON — The Staunton Braves roughed up former pitcher and Stuarts Draft graduate Jake Rule to the tune of six runs, including two home runs by Jason Stifler, and the Braves went on to pound Harrisonburg 11-2 on Tuesday night in a matchup of Valley Baseball League rivals at Moxie Stadium. "I’ll take it," manager Lance Mauck said about the offensive explosion. "Stifler’s in a groove right now and he got us going a little bit. We’ve won 9-of-11, three in a row and we’re playing good baseball right now." Staunton got on the board in the third after Stifler, the designated hitter, hit a leadoff home run to left. Then the Braves had runners at the corners with nobody out in the fourth, and Max Most scored on a double-steal of second and home, with Blake McDade swiping second. A Bryon Izzo single to right again put runners at the corners with none out, and Josh Wenderoth hit a grounder right at shortstop Mark Brooks, but the ball went under his glove and what could have been a possible double play turned into two more runs for the Braves. The error proved costly, as Stifler jacked the first pitch he saw deep over the double-stacked billboards in left for his second round-tripper of the game and a 6-0 Braves’ lead. The Turks scored a run in the fifth after Brooks singled, stole second and scored on a single by Michael Precise, and one more in the sixth after Brett Stewart hit a leadoff double and scored on a groundout by Landon Camp. The Braves tacked on five more in the seventh, which started with a Stephen Branca double. He then went to third on a passed ball and home on a wild pitch. Donovan Huffer then doubled, and scored on Most’s fourth hit of the game. McDade reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double into the gap by Izzo. Casey Sedley then hit a rocket deep over the fence in left-center, and the Braves held an 11-2 lead after seven. Lance Baxter turned in another solid performance to remain undefeated on the season (5-0), giving up one run on four hits, striking out eight and walking two. "I don’t think Bax had his best stuff," Mauck said. "But he slipped coming off the mound and hurt his back a little, and it tightened up on him. But he worked through it to go five innings and get himself a win out of it." Stifler was 2-for-4 with his two homers and three RBIs. "I was just looking for good pitches to hit, he threw me a couple of inside fastballs, I turned on them and hit them pretty well," Stifler said. "Lately, I’ve been swinging the bat well." Rule gave up six runs on five hits and struck out four in four-plus innings of work. HARRISONBURG 000 011 000 — 2 5 1 STAUNTON 001 500 50x — 11 12 3 Rule, Bartleski (4), Smith (6), Sloan (7), Millstead (8) and Tutwiler. Baxter, McQuade (6), Truxell (8), Ferguson (9) and Hammac, Stifler (9). W — Baxter. L — Rule. HR — Stifler (S) 3rd, none on and 4th, one on; Sedley (S) 7th, one on.