Harrisonburg Erases 5-run Deficit, Walks Off Against Rockbridge
W: Zach Sightler (1-0)
L: Tyler King (0-3)
All but certain to lose an abbreviated make-up game, the Turks capped an absurd comeback bid when right fielder John Welborn hit a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to score DH Joe Napolitano and finalize an improbably 8-7 win.
Harrisonburg (28-12) fell into an early 2-0 hole when center fielder Scott Fabre blasted a home run so far over the left field fence, Turks left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch didn’t even consider running after it. The Turks took three innings to knot things up, scoring their second run of the game on Mike Warren’s sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the third.
Rockbridge (15-22) wasted no time jumping back on top. The Rapids rang up five runs on four hits and two errors in the top of the fourth, amassing a quick 7-2 lead.
But the second half of the game saw a reversal of fortunes. The visitors wouldn’t find any more offense, as Turks reliever Zach Sightler only allowed one hit in the final 3 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Harrisonburg picked up the offensive pace in the fifth inning, when center fielder Thomas Spitz hit a leadoff single, and third baseman Thomas Smith scored him with his second triple of the season. Kalbfleisch hit an RBI single to score Smith, an shrink the Turks deficit to three runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, catcher Joey Roach hit a leadoff double before Rockbridge reliever Grain Cain walked three straight batters in 13 combined pitches. With the bases loaded, Smith hit a 2-RBI single to score Spitz and second baseman Andy Perez to tie the game for a second time at 7-7.
Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the seventh sealed the Rapid’s fate. With two outs and an 0-2 count, Napolitano hit a standup double into the right center alley, and two pitches later, Welborn hit a second double that sailed just over right fielder Patrick Marshall’s. Napolitano was already around third when the ball dropped behind Marshall, and he trotted home to a parade of high fives.
Smith finished 3 of 3 with 4 RBI. Shortstop RJ Perucki finished 2 of 4.
Sightler earned his first win of the season Monday evening after relieving Turks starter Jake Harper, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out one. Harper, who receives a No Decision after 3 2/3 innings of work, gave up 6 earned runs, four walks. He struck out three batters.