Posted: July 2, 2012
Daily News Record
By MATTHEW STOSS
HARRISONBURG — Bob Wease said his team always seems to play better after an off day.
Well, it did Sunday.
After a rare Saturday without a game, the Harrisonburg Turks, thanks an early offensive burst, breezed to a 9-3 Valley Baseball League win over the Staunton Braves on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park.
“I think the kids came out to play today,” said Wease, the Turks’ manager. “Different attitude. Sometimes they come out dragging a little bit. Today, they came out – I think they really wanted to play. Maybe it was because we were off yesterday. Baseball can be very tiring. … You come out here – you play six or seven nights a week – and you come out here and you’re just dead.”
The Turks (17-8) led 7-2 after the third inning when they plated three runs on a triple from David Perkins (Duke) a single by A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) and a double by Eric Mason (Saint Joseph’s).
It was Perkins’ second triple in a week.
“Usually, I don’t particular consider myself a triples hitter,” said the left fielder, who hit a high fastball down the left-field line. “But I just saw a good pitch to drive and put a good piece on it.”
Perkins finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Ryan Lee (Fordham) led Harrisonburg, going 2-for-4 with two runs. He had the only multi-hit game for the Turks, who had 10 hits and moved within percentage points of Waynesboro (16-7) for the first place in the South Division of the VBL.
The early runs helped.
“Some of our games we don’t do that,” Harrisonburg catcher Eric Mason said. “… Our best games are when we score early. We’ve been more aggressive up there, so that’s been helping us. People have been swinging at more strikes.”
Chris Pike, one of the Turks’ top relievers this season, shut down Staunton for the final 3 2/3 innings to earn his second save after relieving Trey Cochran-Gill (3-0) in the sixth inning.
Pike came in at what could have been a turning point for the Braves (12-14). They had runners on first and third with one out, but Pike, a 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander from Fordham, struck out the next two batters to kill Staunton’s rally and preserve the Turks’ 7-2 lead.
“I mean, coming in, I’m just trying to do my best and [trying not to] give up the other starter’s runs,” said Pike, who has a 0.77 ERA this season. “And that definitely gives you a little more motivation to just go out there and just strike them out and get out of the inning with no damage.”
It helped get Cochran-Gill the win after tossing 5 1/3 effective innings. The right-hander from Auburn struck out four but walked five and gave up six hits and two runs, both earned.
Pike struck out four and walked three but gave up no hits and one unearned run for the Turks, who came back after trailing 2-0 in the first inning when Staunton scored on a double by Jermaine Berry and a single by Kenny Jackson.
The Turks answered – or, rather, Staunton answered for them – when they scored two runs on a three-base error by Braves right fielder Blake Sipe, who a let single by Lee get past him and roll to the fence. The mistake allowed both Ryan Brown (William & Mary) and Lee to score, tying the game at 2-2.
Harrisonburg went up 4-2 in the second inning on a double by Brian Yeung and a single by R.J. Perucki (Texas-San Antonio). The Turks added their last runs in the seventh when they scored on a single from Charles Sheffield (Georgia Tech) and a sacrifice fly from Perkins.
Staunton 200 000 100 – 3 6 1 Harrisonburg 223 000 200 – 9 10 2
Leeth, Huffman (3), Packrall (7), Colletti (8) and Crescenzo; Cochran-Gill, Pike (6) and Mason. W – Cochran-Gill (3-0). L – Leeth (0-3). Sv – Pike (2).