Posted: June 13, 2012
By MATTHEW STOSS
Daily News Record
HARRISONBURG — After the second inning, it looked like the remaining seven would be a formality, and the Harrisonburg Turks would go home with a tidy blowout win over the Staunton Braves.
Well, not quite.
Instead, the Turks had to fend off a late rally — which, to be fair, they helped create — and survive with a 10-7 win over South Division rival Staunton in a Valley Baseball League game Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Park.
“I don’t know. We made some errors, booted some balls, got a little lackadaisical, lot of walks,” said Charles Sheffield, the Turks’ right fielder from Georgia Tech. “But, you know what? That’s part of it. We battled.”
Harrisonburg — which improved to 8-2, the best record in the VBL — survived thanks to the early offensive cushion and a lockdown performance from Shawn O’Neill.
The left-hander from LaSalle came in with no outs in the eighth inning and got a fielder’s choice and a double play to end a five-run inning for the Braves (4-5), who took advantage of four walks and an error.
O’Neill retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his third save of the season, ending the game in 2 hours, 44 minutes. It was the only VBL game played Tuesday. Every other contest was rained out.
“Really, the story tonight is Shawn O’Neill,” Turks manager Bob Wease said. “And Shawn came in the eighth inning and just shut them down.”
Dillon Ortman (2-0), a right-hander from Auburn, got the win after tossing six innings and giving up two runs, both earned. He yielded nine hits and struck out two with no walks, thanks to a good slider and a good changeup. The 10-run lead after two innings didn’t hurt, either.
“I felt OK today,” said Ortman, who turns 20 years old today. “Stuff wasn’t really working that great, but I had a good feel for my slider, which I utilized a lot, and the fastball was just kind of there, so I felt OK.”
Harrisonburg scored four runs in the first inning on an RBI double from Brian Yeung (Wingate) and a three-run home run by A.J. Murray. The designated hitter from Georgia Tech connected on a high fastball and sent it just over the left-center field wall to make it 4-0. It was his first homer of the season.
“Everyone swung the bat well,” Murray said. “We got timely hits … But, overall, people walked; we moved them over. We were just very productive hitting-wise and we got good starting pitching to back it up.”
The Turks added six runs in the second inning and sent 10 batters to the plate to blow it open early. First, Yeung had an RBI single and then Sheffield tripled to center field to score two runs. Harrisonburg also scored on a double by Murray and a sacrifice fly to center field by Eric Mason (St. Joseph’s).
The Braves had two runs in the fifth and five in the eighth. Still, it wasn’t enough to come back from the Turks’ first two innings.
“We’ve been playing a different kind of ballgame — been playing a lot of small ball first three or four games,” Wease said. “But tonight, we came out and played some long ball.”
Staunton 000 020 050 – 7 12 1 Harrisonburg 460 000 00x – 10 13 3
Stuckey, Soucy (2), Howard (3), Schreiber (4), Johnson 6), Packrall (8) and Wright, Angelis; Ortman, McLeod (7), Priddle (8), O’Neill (8) and Mason. W—Ortman (2-0). L—Stuckey (0-1). Sv—O’Neill (3). HR—Harrisonburg: Murray (1).