Rockbridge holds on for 9-7 win
W: Jacob Christensen (1-0)
L: Brett Morgan (0-1)
S: Nygeal Andrews (1)
Harrisonburg came up just short Sunday night, mounting a promising comeback but ultimately dropping its second home game to the Rockbridge Rapids 9-7.
The Turks (1-2) built an early 3-0 lead off hot bats in the bottom of the first, but they fell behind 7-4 after the Rapids’ four-run seventh. After each team mustered one run in the eighth and Rockbridge brought one more home in the top of the ninth, Harrisonburg would need to recapture its first-inning firepower to conjure up a big comeback.
They ended up coming close. Jacob Christensen struck out designated hitter Jace Whitley before Harrisonburg catcher Josh Clark doubled down the right field line. Three consecutive singles to left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch, first baseman Jalen Phillips, and right fielder Justin Korenblatt scored Clark and loaded the bases. That’s when the Rapids (1-2) opted to swap pitchers and trust that center fielder Nygeal Andrews could close out the Rapids’ first win from the mound.
Andrews delivered, but just barely. He gave up a single to Andy Perez that scored Kalbfleisch, but got the best of center fielder Thomas Spitz after that. With the game on the line, third baseman Joe Napolitano hit a bomb to left field that looked like it may have walk-off potential, but Rapids left fielder Shawn Wood made an outstanding catch to cement the game’s final score at 9-7.
The Turks ended with two runs on five hits and left three runners on base in the ninth.
Early on, it was all Harrisonburg. Two hits, coupled with one of Rockbridge’s two errors and four stolen bases, gave Harrisonburg an early 3-0 lead. Rockbridge would get back into the game in the top of the fourth when Andrews’ two-run homer cleared the left field wall.
By the top of the seventh Harrisonburg had regained a 4-3 advantage. Ryan Perkins led off, blasting a triple off Harrisonburg reliever Brett Morgan to deep right center, and Hunter Higgerson’s sac fly to right scored Perkins. Morgan walked three straight batters after that before Coach Wease called Adam Boghosian from the bullpen.
Bohhosian walked Aarron Nardone and gave up a single to Andrews, before striking out two Rockbridge players to get out of the inning.
Neither starter received a decision Sunday night. Morgan takes the loss for Harrisonburg, his first of the year.
Kalbfleisch and Spitz both finished with three hits and one RBI apiece. Harrisonburg left 14 runners on base.
Rockbridge’s Andrews finished 2/4 with 4RBI and the save.
The Turks will be back in action in Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday night, where they will face the Waynesboro Generals. Harrisonburg defeated Waynesboro in the southern finals in route to last season’s VBL championship.