6/13/2011 – Daily News Record
Written by Tim Chapman Daily News Record Special Correspondent
NEW MARKET – Through the first eight games of the season, Jay Gonzalez batted an ugly 2- for -16. The figure isn’t entirely indicative of his production – he had 10 walks with a .462 on-base percentage – but the Harrisonburg Turks ‘ leadoff man was itching for some contact.
He finally found his swing in Sunday’s 6-2 win, going 4- for -5 with four singles and two RBIs, to lead the Turks over the New Market Rebels. “It’s actually the best feeling,” said Gonzalez, a center fielder from Auburn. “Making pure contact and actually seeing the ball drop after all the work you put in, in the cages before the game and in practice. It’s a great feeling to see all that work pay off on a day like this.”
Turks pitcher Justin Van Grouw (1-1) also had his best game of the season, picking up his first win in three appearances. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound right-hander from Wake Forest gave up two runs on just four hits, striking out six and walking one in seven innings. “I start locating my fastball pretty well after the third inning and then my slider came along well,” Van Grouw said.
The Rebels (5-3) scored both runs in the second inning, but the Turks (7-2) immediately answered in the third. Dodson McPherson, the Turks ‘ left fielder from Wingate, tied the game with a two-run home run – his fourth of the season. In the following inning, Gonzalez drove in shortstop Michael Basil (Indiana) for the go-ahead run off New Market starter Seth Greene.
“[He] has been struggling all-year long, but finally you’re seeing the true Jay Gonzalez,” Turks manager Bob Wease said. “Because this is what the coaches told me he had at Auburn. They had a guy that could spray it around, steal two or three bases and would be the catalyst on the baseball team, and that’s exactly what he’s done tonight.” The speedster also stole two bases in three attempts against the Rebels. He now has six stolen bases for the season.
“He’s very dangerous, and I think he set the tone from the beginning of the game with the bunt for a single,” Rebels coach Corey Paluga said. “With his speed , you know, he can put it on the ground anywhere in the infield and has a chance of beating it out.”
Harrisonburg 002 103 000 – 6 10 1
New Market 020 000 000 – 2 6 4
Greene, Hattrich (6), Horner (7), Ferramola (9) and Long; Van Grouw, Luchterhand (8), Johnson (9) and Austin, Mazmanian (8). W- Van Grouw. L- Greene. HR-H: McPherson (4).