It’s been an eventful week up and down the I-81 corridor for the boys in blue.
Following last weekend’s homestand, the Harrisonburg Turks have kept busy on the road in the Valley League. The trip began on a sour note, leaving town after Monday’s 5-2 home loss to the Haymarket Senators. It wasn’t made easier when Harrisonburg starter Dillon Ortman (3-2) picked up his second loss of the season in a 4-1 decision in Front Royal. Ortman gave up only three earned runs but got too little run support to come out ahead of Cardinals starter Harrison Cooney (1-2).
Valley League play was suspended for America’s birthday, but the Turks were back in action in a rebound win in Strasburg Thursday night. Joe Charest (4-1) gave up a nominal three runs in a complete game outing where he recorded seven strikeouts. First baseman Charles Sheffield had an offensive outing worthy of Billy Beane’s greatest affections, piling up two hits, 2 RBI’s, and two walks in his four at bats. Designated hitter Grant Gibbs also had a nice stat line, ending the game 2/3 with an RBI.
The Turks had a rough night Friday at league-leading Winchester, falling by a score of 10-4. Sheffield and Gibbs once again had good games (4/8, 3 RBI’s between the two of them), but Winchester managed seven runs off starter John McLeod (4-2) in the first four innings and the Turks couldn’t keep pace.
The home team finally returned to Veterans Memorial Park last night in a 6-2 victory over Woodstock. Trey Cochran-Gill became one of only two VBL pitchers to obtain a record of 4-0 after a monster third inning powered the Turks run production. He recorded six strikeouts, and Alex Cruz pitched a scoreless final 2 2/3 innings.
The Turks will take the next few days off for the Valley League All-Star game. Six Turks– 2B Thomas Smith, CF Ryan Lee, 3B Jake Roberts, C Eric Mason, lefty closer Shawn O’Neill, and regular starting pitcher Dillon Ortman– will participate in the festivities celebrating the Valley’s best ballplayers. The Turks get back in action Tuesday in Waynesboro, and the next home game features a 2-for-1 special against the visiting Rockbridge Rapids.