Charles Town Posts 3-2 Victory
By MATT JONES
Daily News Record
Photos by Jason Lenhart / Daily News Record
Charles Town scored twice in the sixth inning to beat the Turks 3-2 in a Valley League baseball game, with Harrisonburg leaving nine men on base and spoiling a terrific start by Garrett Ford.
“I didn’t think we were going to win 20 in a row anyway,” Turks manager Bob Wease said. “It’s hard to win four or five in a row in this league. All these teams are basically the same; the difference is who comes out to play every night.”
Charles Town’s big inning came in the sixth. With two outs, Matt Durst laced a double down the right-field line, followed by back-to-back RBI singles by Waldyvan Estrada and Spence Rahm to make it 3-2.
Both teams scored in the first inning – Charles Town on an Estrada RBI single to score Tyler Hibbert – and Harrisonburg on a Mike Warren RBI double to score R.J. Perucki.
The Turks (12-6) took a brief lead in the third inning. With Warren at the plate, R.J. Perucki stole second, but an overthrow by the catcher allowed Andy Perez to score from third base.
Ford, a left-hander out of Georgia State, did his part. In his first decision of the season, he took the loss, going eight innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. He struck out just two Charles Town batters, but strikeouts were not in his plan entering the game.
“[I did] pretty much exactly what I wanted to do,” Ford said. “My pitches were locating and I was able to make them force contact and let my defense do all the work for me. We just came up a little short.”
His catcher, Connor Lynch, said it was just a few plays that made the difference.
“Garrett pitched a really good game – he was lights out today,” Lynch said. “Just a couple things didn’t fall and they got a couple hits on balls they might not have normally gotten hits.”
Although Charles Town (10-10) did enough to win the game, Wease felt there were situations in the game that Harrisonburg did not capitalize on.
“It was a lot of what we didn’t do,” Wease said. “Any time you hold a team to three runs, you’re supposed to win the ballgame. We gave them the first run. The first batter of the game, we got two strikes on him, we end up hitting him and he ends up scoring. That’s the difference in the game. You’ve got to credit them. They worked hard, they stayed in the ballgame and that’s baseball.”
The Turks’ best chance to win the game came in the seventh inning. With one out, Thomas Spitz tripled, and one batter later, Andy Perez walked and stole second to put runners on second and third with two outs. Perucki, the team’s most feared bat, could not come through, striking out to end the threat.
“We had line drives, we just couldn’t get a hit with men on base,” Wease said.
Charles Town starting pitcher Alex Hackerott was not spectacular, going 6 1/3 innings while striking out two and allowing six hits.
Ford’s start marks the second time this season he has gone at least seven innings and allowed three earned runs or less in a losing effort.
“He gave me a great effort, we should’ve won the ballgame for him,” Wease said. “We didn’t. He gave up five hits in eight innings. Supposed to win the ballgame.”
The Turks fell into a tie for first place in the Southern Division of the VBL with New Market, although they’re percentage points ahead of the Rebels.
As for the winning streak ending, it’s no big deal, say the players.
“Nobody was really thinking about it,” Lynch said. “It’s cool to have those win streaks, but we just come here every day and just compete as best we can on a day-to-day basis.”
Charles Town 100 002 000 – 3 5 2
Harrisonburg 101 000 000 – 2 7 1
Hackerott, McClellan (7), McClain (8) and Kelley; Ford, Pike (9) and Lynch, Nichols (7). W- Hackerott (2-1). L- Ford (0-1). Sv- McClain (2).