06/27/2009 – Daily News Record
Written By Marcus Helton Sports Department Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – For the typically late-scoring Harrisonburg Turks, plating a few early runs provided a welcome change of pace. Shaun Cooper hit an RBI single and came all the way home on a fielding error to give the Turks a 2-0 lead in the first inning en route to a 5-3 Valley Baseball League win over Front Royal on Friday at Long Field. "We’ve been scoring late," Cooper said. "We’ve been scoring in the seventh to ninth inning and we’ve been winning ballgames. So, to come out early with two runs is pretty good." Starting pitcher Drew Granier (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) allowed just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings for the Turks, despite not feeling that he had his best stuff. He struck out four while walking two. "It was just one of the days I didn’t have much, but I was getting by," Granier said. "They were hitting it right at people the whole time, and I was just throwing the fastball and trying to get outs. It was a little more lucky than being good." Ryan Eden (New Orleans) led off the Turks half of the first with an infield single, and later stole second base. Arizona’s Cooper then hit a ball to centerfield that skipped under the glove of Front Royal centerfielder Kevin Brashears (Shenandoah). That allowed Eden to score, and Cooper sprinted around the bases as the ball continued to roll towards the wall in center. He dove into home with a headfirst hook slide, and was called safe when Front Royal catcher Doug Oney couldn’t hold the relay throw. "I just thought it was going to be a single," Cooper said, "and then I saw the outfielder charging hard. I thought he was going to dive but he pulled up. He misplayed it and it got by him, and I knew I had to turn on the gears on that one." Turks manager Bob Wease said he didn’t hesitate to send Cooper when he saw him clear second base "I’ll gamble like that with guys that are willing to bust their butt and give a hundred percent," Wease said, "and that’s exactly what Shaun does every time he goes out on the field." In the third inning, the Turks loaded the bases with two outs, and Mike Schwartz (Tampa) drew a walk to score Eden and make it 3-0, Harrisonburg. The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth inning, as Granier allowed a pair of walks – sandwiched around a double – to load the bases with one out. Kevin Krantz (Michigan) then hit an infield chopper that bounced so high Dan Evatt (Baylor) scored before it even came down. Front Royal wouldn’t do any more damage, though and trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Arizona’s Bobby Brown hit a leadoff double for the Turks in the fifth, and moved to third on a passed ball. Schwartz tripled to bring him home, and later scored himself on a sacrifice fly by Nathan Weglarz (St. Joseph’s) to put Harrisonburg up 5-1. The Cardinals added runs in the seventh and eighth, but couldn’t get any closer. Harrisonburg reliever Brad Riddle (Oklahoma City) threw a hitless ninth to earn his first save. Front Royal 000 100 110 – 3 8 1 Harrisonburg 201 020 00x – 5 8 1 Varner, DeCarlo (6) and Oney; Granier, Wakefield (7), Riddle (9) and Brunelle. W – Granier (2-0). L – Varner (1-1). S – Riddle (1).