08/01/2008 – Daily News Record
Written By Matthew Stoss Daily News Record Sports Desk
LURAY – Bob Wease was alone, frustrated and leaning against the backstop outside the Harrisonburg Turks’ dugout at Bulldog Field. They had just lost 4-3 to the Luray Wranglers in the bottom of the ninth inning on their fourth error of the night, and were eliminated from the Valley Baseball League playoffs in the first round. Wease, the Turks’ manager/owner just kept saying: "We should’ve won this game. We should’ve won this game. We should’ve won this game." He had a case. Of Harrisonburg’s four errors, three led to two unearned runs, which undermined a 133-pitch performance by starter Garrett Parker and two solo home runs that helped the Turks rally from being down 3-1. "Unbelievable," Wease said. "It’s a heck of a way for the season to end." Harrisonburg (20-27) tied the game in the top of the ninth inning on a solo home run by designated hitter Will Baez. It was the first pitch Luray’s Andrew Salgueiro threw after relieving starter Alex Wimmers, who threw 114 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine. "It was a fastball in," said Baez, who finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. "… I didn’t know it was gone. I knew it was up in the air, but the ball hadn’t been carrying." The shot drew much celebration on the Turks’ bench, including Parker’s dancing debut. He and Baez demonstrated a meringue. But that was all the celebrating the Turks would get to do. Harrisonburg had a chance to take the lead, but right fielder Michael Precise struck out on a check swing call with runners on first and second. After getting the first out in the bottom of the ninth, Turks reliever Matt Chaffee hit Luray designated hitter C.J. Lauriello. The next batter, second baseman Ryan Schimpf, reached on an error that eventually cost Harrisonburg the game. Turks’ second baseman Daniel Heatwole bobbled Schimpf’s ground ball then threw it to first in a hurry. The throw skipped past first baseman Zach Castleberry and allowed Lauriello to advance to third. When Schimpf attempted to steal second, Harrisonburg had a play on for shortstop Mark Brooks to cut the throw off in case Lauriello dashed home. Lauriello did, but catcher Mike Pericht threw a low ball that bounced off Brooks’ glove to score the winning run from third. "We had it called," Wranglers manager Mike Bocock said of the stolen base. "They had it defended, but C.J. got a great break, and I think that’s what threw them off." Wease, whose team finished 1-6 against Luray (32-15) this season, said he knew Bocock would call for a steal in that situation. "I knew everything," Wease said. "I even knew the pitch he was going to run on." It, however, failed to help the Turks, who had only two hits through seven innings: a single by third baseman Brett Stewart in the second and a single by Castleberry in the fourth. Parker, though, kept Harrisonburg in the game with an outing Wease called one of the best he’d seen. Parker went 7 2/3 innings, allowed two earned runs, five hits and six walks. The right-hander from Oklahoma City, who was Harrisonburg’s closer last season, also struck out six. The runs he allowed came on an error in the first, an RBI double in the second and a solo home run by right fielder Jeff Jefferson (his third in two days) in the third. "Felt like I had my stuff," Parker said. "They’re just a really good hitting team. Early, I was trying to be too fine and nip at the corners.
I ended up getting too many guys on base and then had to go right after them." As for the 133 pitches, the most Parker has thrown in his career? "That’s not a lot of pitches," Wease said. "It’s getting close, but it’s not really a lot of pitches. By today’s baseball it is, but 20, 30 years ago, it’s not." Harrisonburg 010 000 011 – 3 5 4 Luray 111 000 001 – 4 6 2 Parker, Chaffee (8) and Pericht; Wimmers, Salgueiro (8), Koronis (9) and Miller. W-Koronis (NA). L-Chaffee (NA). HR-H: Baez, Murphy. L: Jefferson.