07/13/2009 – Daily News Record
History Buff Paces 1-0 Win Written by Matthew Stoss Daily News Record WOODSTOCK – Bobby Brown’s time is running out. Much of the Harrisonburg Turks’ season is gone, and he still hasn’t done what he came to the Valley League to do.
Baseball itself is going well. He’s the Turks’ leading hitter, batting a gaudy .343 with 36 hits and 25 runs.
Those numbers even got him selected to Sunday’s VBL All-Star Game, where he was named the winning team’s Most Valuable Player after driving in the only run on an RBI-double to give the South a 1-0 win over the North in front of 715 people at Central High School.
And that’s all good, but what he really wants to do – what sold him on trekking across the continent from the University of Arizona – was the chance to see some history.
“It’s just really, really interesting to learn about,” said the 6-foot-3, 185-pound San Diego native, who is a history major with Civil War and World War II fetishes. “Now, I’m in the heart of where the Civil War was, I’ve gone to a bunch of battlefields.”
So far, he’s up to four: New Market, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Fredericksburg, which are all within at most a few hours’ drive of Harrisonburg. But he has one more on his list.
If possible, Brown said he would like to make the 160-mile trip to Gettysburg.
After the All-Star Game, though, it seemed like he would be making the pilgrimage alone. Pitcher Chris Sorce – a fellow Turk and All-Star – said he probably wouldn’t be visiting any battlefields during his summer in the Valley. He also didn’t make it sound like the Turks’ roster had a surplus of history geeks. “He’s going to have a pretty tough time,” said Sorce, who tossed a scoreless eighth inning Sunday. “At least he’s not going to get me on a date. I’m more of a math guy.”
Brown, however, can pretty persuasive.
Sunday, he managed to be one of the few players on either team to play the entire game. With liberal substituting happening all around him, Brown – and Staunton’s Todd Brazeal – made a strong case to stay.
The South managed only three hits and struck out 13 times. Those numbers made Brown’s single in the first inning mean a little more than it ordinarily would.
“Him and Brazeal had a hit apiece,” said South (and Staunton) manager Lance Mauck. “And we weren’t getting many hits. I made a decision to let the guys keep hitting.”
It was a good one.
In the top of the sixth inning, Brown – the designated hitter – crushed a fastball to center field for a double with New Market’s Richard Gonzalez on first base. Gonzalez, who reached on an error, scored easily from first base to give the South a 1-0 lead.
“He’s a good contact guy,” Mauck said. “… If you throw him a fastball, he’s going to make you pay.”
In the All-Star Game, he did it with pressure. Sitting directly behind home plate was a large clump of scouts armed with radar guns, score pads and notebooks. Total, there were 16 scouts from 13 major league teams.
“You try not to let it play in your mind,” said Brown, who wasn’t drafted out of high school. “But you want to perform well.” South 000 001 000 – 1 3 1
North 000 000 000 – 0 9 0
Alessio, Gibson (3), Shepard (4), McDaniel (5), Watts (6), Enourato (7), Sorce (8), Burgess (9) and Kral; Marshall, Benedict (2), Hatfield (3), Van Sickler (4), Martin (5), Sasser (6), Sanders (6), Truxell (7), Hayes (7), Hicks (8), Leathersich (8), Knudson (9) and Fallon, Haitsuka, Dudley. W – McDaniel. L – Sasser. Sv – Burgess.
Matthew Stoss Sports Reporter Sports Department email@example.com 540-574-6284