06/10/2010 – Turks Tidbits
Cardinals Beat the Turks, 5-3 in the Ninth Written By Todd Jones James Madison University Intern Front Royal, VA – The mood was light for the Turks pregame. On the bus ride to Front Royal one would not think this is a team that started the season 1-3, losing two of their first three in close nail biters. Some listened to music, a few got some shut eye, while others joked around- still getting to know their new teammates. These Turks realize this is just the beginning of the season and aren’t ready to break the glass encasing the ‘panic button’ just yet. The team knows that had the ball bounced differently on a few occasions they could easily be 3-1 not 1-3. So, still brimming with confidence the Turks headed into Front Royal to try and steal a win away from the Cardinals.
The Turks offense started off slowly in the top of the 1st as the Cardinals threw SS Joe Huber (St. Josephs) out at first, struck out newly arrived CF Terrance Jackson (Oklahoma City), and caught a pop fly hit by OF Shaun Cooper (Arizona) to retire the Turks. Starting pitcher Kurt Wunderlich then pitched two strikeouts in the bottom of the 1st and the Cardinals Drew Gadaire was thrown out at 2nd base to bring the Turks batters back to the plate. At the top of the 2nd inning the Turks bats awoke as 1B Patrick Savage hit a base hit over the mound, followed by two more base hits by Tyler Carpenter (U. Texas San Anton.) and catcher Brett Armour (Young Harris). The bases would become loaded after INF JJ Loker (USC) was walked and then 2B Joshua Band’s base hit would be the calling card home for Carpenter (UTSA), scoring the Turks only run of the inning. In the bottom of the 2nd Wunderlich got his third strikeout, catcher Brett Armour made a strong throw beating the runner to 2nd base, and CF Terrance Jackson (Oklahoma City) caught a pop up to usher in the 3rd inning. After a strikeout and with OF Terrance Jackson and SS Joe Huber (St Josephs) on 1st and 3rd base, 1B Patrick Savage(Auburn) had an RBI sending Joe Huber home bringing the tally to 2-0 in favor of the Turks. The bottom of the 3rd would be the Cardinals chance to get on the scoreboard. Despite striking out three batters in the inning Wunderlich (Michigan St.) could not do it all as Cardinals OF Kevin Brashears scored off a hit by Drew Gadaire. The Turks offense would make a brief appearance in the top of the 4th. Catcher Brett Armour (Young Harris) led off by hitting a zinger to third base which was caught a paper’s width away from hitting the dirt. After Loker (USC) hit a grounder and was thrown out at first, Scott Dalrymple (Oklahoma City) hit a pop up that was caught in right field for the third successive out. In the bottom of the 4th Cardinals OF James Roche stepped to the plate and sent the ball over the fence bringing the score to 2-2. This was followed by another of Wunderlich’s (Michigan St.) 8 strikeouts on the night, and afterward two successive Cardinals batters were thrown out at first base. In the top of the 5th after a pop fly out was hit by 2B Joshua Band (Rollins), SS Joe Huber (St Josephs ) was caught in a pickle while trying to steal third base and tagged out. However after two walks and a base hit by 1B Patrick Savage (Auburn) the Turks owned a lot of real estate on the diamond as bases were loaded. After keeping a keen eye C/OF Tyler Carpenter (UTSA) was also walked bringing in OF Terrance Jackson (Oklahoma City) for the run and a 3-2 Turks lead. In the bottom of the 5th the Turks defense held strong highlighted by a spectacular diving catch in the outfield by Tyler Carpenter (UTSA). The top of the 6th was swift as three batters came to the plate for the Turks, however none made it on base. The bottom of the 6th showcased more defense as the Turks pitcher, Wunderlich (Michigan St.) caught a pop fly followed by two pop fly catches for outs made by CF Terrance Jackson (Okl. City). The top of the 7th inning saw a pitching change for Front Royal as they brought in LHP Ricky Ott to replace starting pitcher Davey Hackett. The fresh arm for Ott help retire three turks batters on two strikeouts and a pop up, allowing only Terrance Jackson to get on base this inning. In the bottom of the 7th Wunderlich (Michigan St.) would get his eighth and final strikeout of the night. However the pitcher was not done there. Wunderlich later fielded a ground ball and threw the runner out at 2nd base igniting a double play as the batter was then thrown out at 1st base as well. The Cardinals relieving pitcher, Ott had the hot hand in the top of the 8th striking out all three Turks batters he faced. In the bottom of the 8th the Turks made a brief pitching change to RHP Emilio Pagan (Gardner-Webb). Shortly after a home run was blasted by Cardinals Pete Greskoff the Turks made another pitching change within the inning to Aaron Luchterhand (Redlands CC). After two pop fly catches for outs the Turks would get one more chance in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. However after Scott Dalrymple (Okl. City) hit a long fly ball to center he was thrown out at 2nd trying to make it a double. This was followed by a very questionable ruling when 2B Joshua Band (Rollins) was called out by the throw at 1st base. SS Joe Huber was struck out for the Turks final at bat. In the bottom of the ninth the Turks were hoping to hang on and that extra innings would be kind to them on this night. No such luck this time. After giving up a base hit and striking out two batters, Luchterhand stepped to the mound with two outs to face the Cardinals Roche who had just knocked a homer in the bottom of the 4th. History repeated itself. Roche cracked a walk off home run to win the game for the Cardinals 5-3. The Turks hope to right the ship when they return home Friday June 11th for a 730 game at JMU Veterans Memorial Park against Covington. The waters may be a bit rocky now, but anchored by a strong team core, the Turks players may eventually create the perfect storm.