07/31/2008 – Daily News Record
Wranglers Even Series With 8-1 Win Written By Matthew Stoss Daily News Record Sports Desk HARRISONBURG – Even Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn’t help the Harrisonburg Turks on Wednesday night. Down 8-1 with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, "May the force be with you" flowed from the rusted speakers at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. The intention was to inspire Turks’ third baseman Brett Stewart, who was batting. Apparently, the voice of Sir Alec Guinness only works in a galaxy far, far away. Stewart popped out to end the inning and Harrisonburg’s best scoring opportunity, as the Turks lost 8-1 to Luray in Game 2 of their Valley Baseball League quarterfinal playoff series, which now is even at 1-1. "We did not come to play tonight," Turks manager Bob Wease said. "Last night, we came out with a lot of intensity." That was when Harrisonburg knocked off the Wranglers for the first time in five tries this season, upsetting the North Division champions. Tonight, the Turks (20-26) and Luray (31-15) meet in the rubber game at 7:30 p.m. in Luray. "The plan [today] is hopefully to get the guys to play hard," Wease said. "And if they don’t, we’ll go home." Wednesday, the Turks had only five hits and made four errors, which led to two unearned runs. Their lone bright spot was B.J. Wheeler, who was responsible for Harrisonburg’s only run. The left fielder from Oklahoma City hit a solo home run to center field in the seventh inning to make it 7-1. It was Wheeler’s third of the series, after hitting none during the regular season. "It was an outside fastball," said Wheeler, who went 1-for-4 with the home run. "Right now, I’m just trying to see the ball and hit the ball. … I figured out what he was throwing me and made an adjustment in the box." Chris Chapman’s start was another bright spot, but it faded in the fourth inning. Chapman, a left-hander from Bethune-Cookman, cruised through the first innings when he struck out three and allowed only two base runners – both via walks. But in the fourth, the walks hurt him. He walked two out of the first three batters with a single in-between them. The Wranglers eventually scored four runs on a sacrifice fly, a single and home run by center fielder Austin Markel, who hit another one in the eighth. "They are a good fastball hitting team," said Chapman, who mixed his pitches early but relied too much on his fastball after the third. "They got in a rhythm with me. … A lot of the pitches they hit hard were fastballs. They swung the bat where the pitches were put." Harrisonburg, however, couldn’t figure out Luray’s Drew Rucinski. The right-hander from Ohio State pitched seven innings – including two after a 41-minute rain and lightning delay. Rucinski allowed one run, four hits and struck out five. "He threw the ball well," Wease said. "… You can’t win a game with five hits – and we made [four] errors." Luray 000 421 010 – 8 6 3 Harrisonburg 000 000 100 – 1 5 4 Rucinski, Weisner (8), Segueiro (9) and Stropp, Miller; Chapman, Bartleski (6) and Pericht, Tutwiler. W – Rucinski (4-1). L – Chapman (3-2). HR: L – Markel, 2 (9). H – Wheeler (3).