08/01/2008 – Daily News Record
Written By: Jerry Scoop Carter ATV- 60 Correspondent LURAY- More often than not the deceiding game of a series fails to live up to the expectations but that was not the case Thursday night when Luray defeated Harrisonburg 4-3 at Bulldog Field. The Wranglers will move forward to the semi-finals to face Staunton in a best 2 of 3 beginning tomorrow night when the Braves make the trip up I-81 but this one was in doubt right up until the final pitch. I would make an argument that this contest held a little bit of everything that a baseball fan could ask for. Let’s start with the heroic efforts from the starting pitchers. Luray skipper Mike Bocock sent Alex Wimmers (Ohio State) to the mound and Bob Wease countered with Garrett Parker (Oklahoma City). Both hurlers went well past the century mark in their pitch count as they were both determined to carry their team to the next round of the post season. Luray reached Parker for single runs in each of the first three innings but never could deliver the knock out punch. Adam McClain (Memphis) walked to lead off the bottom of the first and was bunted over to second before coming around to score an UN-earned run with Jeff Jefferson reached on the first of five Turks miscues. McClain came around to score the games first run when the throw to first base skipped by Zach Castleberry. Harrisonburg rallied to tie the game at 1-1 with an UN-earned run of their own in the top of the second. B.J Wheeler reached on an error and came around to score when Wilsisky sent Jefferson back to the warning track in right field. Jefferson made the catch but Wheeler tagged and raced home to tie the contest. Alex Foltz (James Madison) walked with 2 outs and promptly swiped second base before coming around to score on a double by McClain. Cory Johnson (South Florida) tried to score on the play behind Foltz but was gunned down at the plate to keep the Luray lead at 2-1. Parker once again retired the first two batters in the third inning before Jefferson (Liberty University) connected for his ninth home run of the summer to push the advantage to 3-1 after 3 innings. RECAP- 1ST 1/3 of game- Home Run, Play at the plate, sac bunts, stolen bases and pitchers trying to pitch around miscues… Just getting started… Both Parker and Wimmers were lights out during the middle three innings of the contest. Parker held the Wranglers hit less and worked around 2 walks and a third Turks error. Wimmers also posted 3 zeros despite 2 hit batters and a second Wrangler miscue. Wimmers sailed thru the seventh inning as well as he recorded his eighth strike out for the game and retired Mark Brooks with his 99TH pitch of the night. Wimmers and Parker were locked in a good ole Western showdown and the only question was who would blink first? Parker had to pitch around a single to Ryan Schimpf (LSU), just the third hit of the evening for the home team, in the seventh inning. Schimpf advanced to second base on a ground out by Jefferson but Parker fanned Austin Markel with his 118TH pitch to send the game into the top of the 8TH inning. The Turks Chris Murphy (Southern Illinois) sent the 100TH pitch from Wimmers over the wall in right field to trim the lead to 3-2 and Bocock went to his pen after Brett Stewart singled on the 114TH offering from Wimmers. The final line for the Buckeye pitcher(114 pitches) was 7.2 innings, 2 runs, 1 earned, 4 hits and 9 K’s Andrew Salgueiro (South Florida) came in and retired Castleberry on a line drive to Foltz in left field to strand Stewart and keep Luray ahead 3-2 heading in to the bottom of the eighth. Parker went back out to start the 8TH inning and allowed a one out double down the third base line to Gus Miller. Miller worked his way to third base when pinch hitter Chris Ray grounded out on pitch #133 for the game for Parker. Wease went to his pen and Matt Chafee recorded a strike out to keep the score 3-2 Final Line for Parker…(133 pitches) 7.2 innings, 3 runs, 2 earned, 5 hits, 6 K’s Baez homered to knot the game at 3-3 leading off the top of the ninth inning. The solo home run was the second of the night and eighth of the series for Harrisonburg. Bocock went to his pen one more time and brought in Alex Koronis (Miami). Koronis pitched out of a two on, 1 out jam to keep the score tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. McClain ripped a shot to left field that might of had been the hardest hit ball of the night but it was right at Wheeler, just short of the track. C.J Lauriello was next to the dish and was awarded first base after being struck by a pitch. Schimpf followed with a hard hit two hopper to second base that Daniel Heatwole was unable to field cleanly. Heatwole kept the ball in front of him but committed a second error on the play when his throw got away and Lauriello advanced to third base. One out in the bottom of the ninth inning and runners on the corners and I said the game had a bit of everything so what was left? Schimpf breaks for second with Jefferson in a 1-2 hole and Lauriello heads towards the plate. Harrisonburg guesses correctly and catcher Mike Pericht fires the ball to the short stop as he is breaking in the direction of the pitchers mound….. The play will go into the books as a game winning steal of home plate as the Turks can’t finish the play. For one night, in front of a crowd of 500+ plus, including a kook that decided the crowd should sing together during the 7TH inning stretch, the VBL had a classic! This is the point where I would normally send you to a link at let someone else tell you about this game to you- but not tonight…. I saw two young men take to the mound and leave everything they had on the diamond, two teams playing for the names on the front of their jerseys, fans that stayed in the game to the last pitch- for this one folks I just don’t care what someone else thought! Bravo Turks- it was fun to watch… Congrats Wranglers- You live to play another day! Peaked over to check out the gamer at http://www.dnronline.com/ and besides the fact that Jefferson was given credit for Austin Markel’s two home runs from yesterday, it’s not a bad read. It was Markel that connected twice for the Wranglers in game 2 over at Harrisonburg to lead the team to their 8-1 victory.