After Down Week, Harrisonburg Pummels Waynesboro 13-2
W: Connor Kaden (5-0)
L: Bryce Danielson (0-1)
Whatever setbacks the Turks may have suffered last week seem to be behind them. Behind strikeout artist Connor Kaden and a fired up group of bats, Harrisonburg mowed down the visiting Waynesboro Generals 13-2 on Tuesday night.
Harrisonburg (25-11) found themselves in an early 1-0 hole after Generals shortstop Tyler Bocock stole home on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning. But the deficit was wiped out pretty quickly. Leadoff batter Thomas Spitz had already singled and reached home to tie the game at one run apiece before DH Joe Napolitano came up to bat. With the bases loaded, Napolitano hit a 3-RBI double deep to the wall. He scored three pitches later when catcher Taylor Nichols hit a double of his own to bring Napolitano in and make it 5-1 Turks. Harrisonburg capped the first-inning scoring at 6 runs when right fielder Patrick Mazeika mishandled Turks right fielder John Welborn’s hit. Welborn reached first and Nichols scored an unearned run.
Leading 6-1, the Turks tallied another two unearned runs when Bocock misplayed a groundout from Eric Kalbfleisch, and both third baseman Thomas Smith and shortstop RJ Perucki scored.
Harrisonburg poured on another four runs in the bottom of the third to make it 12-1 and coasted from there.
Turks starter Connor Kaden joined elite company on Tuesday, winning his fifth game of the season. Only eight players have 5+ wins so far this summer; three (Kaden, Justin Camp and Sam Kmiec) are Turks pitchers.
Kaden went for six innings in the win, facing 23 batters. He struck out 10 of them, giving him a total of 61 on the season. With the 10 K’s, Kaden recaptures the VBL strikeout lead from Front Royal’s Jordan DeLorenzo, who reached 54 strikeouts in between Kaden’s starts.
Smith finished with a monstrous stat line: 2 of 3, 2BB, 1RBI, 3R. Second baseman Andy Perez also finished 2 of 3, notching 1BB, 2RBI and 2R. Perucki finished 2 of 4 with an RBI and a run.
Harrisonburg ran off two sizable winning streaks in late June and early July but lost four games last week. The Turks still own the Southern Division lead, but only lead New Market by 1.5 games. They will play at third-place Staunton on Thursday night; game time is 7:30 p.m.