A Grand Evening
7/26/2010 – Turks Tidbits
With Key Stretch Looming, Dalrymple’s Grand Slam Sparks TURKS 11-4 Drubbing of Staunton
By Thomas Cornwell Boston College Intern
Harrisonburg, VA—Sunday night the Harrisonburg TURKS put together one of their most impressive performances in recent memory, handling Woodstock 9-3. Monday evening at Eagle Field vaguely resembled the previous evening as a Grand Slam from Scott Dalrymple (Oklahoma City) in the third inning broke a 2-2 with the Staunton Braves (15-23) en route to an 11-4 win for the TURKS. The win also gave the fourth-place TURKS their 20th win of the season, putting them within striking distance of league’s second spot heading into an important three game stretch against the top three team (Haymarket, Winchester, and Luray in that order), while putting Staunton in danger of missing the VBL playoffs for the first time in quite a while.
The TURKS bats got to work early as Terrance Jackson (Oklahoma City) singled to lead off the game. Connor Winn (Georgia Tech) and Shaun Cooper (Pima C.C.) followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. TURKS clean-up hitter Patrick Savage (Auburn) then grounded into a double play, allowing Jackson to score from third to give Harrisonburg the early 1-0 lead. Scott Dalrymple followed Savage, singling to left, plating Winn from third for the TURKS second run.
The Braves would not go down without a fight, at least not an early fight, as right fielder Evan Ashley (Barry) tripled to right center to score Armani Johnson (Youngstown St.) from first who was hit-by-pitch to lead off the third inning, trimming the TURKS lead to 2-1. Shortstop Stephen Branca (Central Florida) then grounded out to knot the two. TURKS pitcher Aaron Luchterhand (Redlands C.C.) shut down the Braves from there, pitching eight innings of masterful baseball before yielding to Gabe Grinder (Southeastern) to close the game in the ninth.
In the bottom of the third frame the TURKS quickly slammed to door on the resilient Braves, extending the lead to 6-2 on Scott Dalrymple’s Grand Slam. Following a Terrance Jackson out, Connor Winn, Shaun Cooper, and Patrick Savage followed with singles to load the bases for Dalrymple. Dalrymple stepped to the plate and without hesitation belted the first pitch he saw over the left field wall giving Harrisonburg a four run advantage. The Grand Slam was the first one hit by a TURK this season.
The TURKS were back at it again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Emilio Pagan (Gardner-Webb) singled to lead off the inning and reached second a throwing error by the Braves third baseman. A Terrance Jackson fly out advanced Pagan to third with Connor Winn heading to the plate. Winn then confidently stroked a double off the left field wall, scoring Pagan from third, extending the Harrisonburg lead to 7-2. TURKS power broker Shaun Cooper then stepped to the plate, belting his eleventh home run of the season (to match his uniform number), a two run home run down the left field line, giving the TURKS their second straight night with at least nine runs. The TURKS tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth for an 11-2 margin. With the game already decided, the Braves tacked on 2 more meaningless runs in the ninth, making the final total 11-4 in favor of Harrisonburg.
Now comes perhaps one of the most pivotal stretches of the season for the TURKS as they face the league’s top three teams the next three nights, hosting Winchester and Luray tomorrow and Wednesday before traveling to league leading and reigning champion Haymarket Thursday evening. This stretch will give the TURKS the opportunity to improve their position in the VBL and prove themselves as a legitimate threat heading into the playoffs. A poor showing through these three games, however, may also write the TURKS off as a legitimate title threat as the season winds down. So will these next three games be feast or famine for the TURKS? We shall see beginning tomorrow night!