Generals Clinch Series in Thrilling 4-3 Win
W: Sean Buccholz (3-1)
L: David Bourbonnais (1-1)
Harrisonburg’s spectacular 2013 season came to an end after a wild finish in Waynesboro Monday night. The Turks allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, ceding a 3-2 lead and the right to play in the Southern Division Championship Series to Waynesboro (24-22).
The Turks fell behind early, 2-0, but had plenty of chances to score through the first seven innings, having left six runners stranded in scoring position. Harrisonburg (32-14) finally broke through in the top of the eighth, when third baseman Thomas Smith singled up the middle and first baseman Mike Warren walked.
With two runners on and no outs, the Generals opted to reign Joshua Thorne in and install Latten Galbraith on the mound. The decision would prove costly. After making foul contact twice, left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch smashed a double deep into the outfield that scored both Warren and Smith and tied the game.
The Generals opted for another change, this time inserting Sean Buccholz for Galbraith. Shortstop RJ Perucki’s groundout advanced Kalbfleisch to third base, and DH Joe Napolitano hit the biggest hit of the game through 7 1/2 innings: a base hit into center that scored Kalbfleisch and put the Turks out front.
In the bottom of the eighth, David Bourbonnais entered the game for Turks starter Garrett Ford (7.0IP, 3H, 1ER, 1 BB, 4K). Bourbonnais fared okay in the eighth, walking left fielder Corbin Lucas and giving up a single to center fielder JoJo Woods before getting out of the inning. But with Harrisonburg clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Bourbonnais gave up two base hits to third baseman Anthony Iacomini and first baseman Quinn Griffith before walking right fielder Brian Beard.
Harrisonburg swapped Bourbonnais for closer Adam Cherry; Waynesboro replaced Griffith, the potential game-winning run at second, with pinch runner Jeff Conley. Game on.
Ben Boykin, who hit a towering home run in Harrisonburg Sunday night, stepped up to the plate. He hit what looked to be a game-winner for Waynesboro, aimed right at left center, but Perucki nabbed the ball right out of the sky for an improbably lineout. Out #1.
Cherry dug deep on the next at bat and made Lucas whiff badly. Out #2.
But Out #3 never came. On a 1-1 pitch, second baseman Kevin Fagan (a combined 0-11 in this series) pushed one into the right center alley that easily scored Iacomini. Conley took a wide turn around third, heading home, as the ball sailed in from the outfield, but Conley beat out the throw and tag by about a second, and the Generals dugout emptied onto the field to celebrate.
Iacomini and Woods both finished 2 of 4 with a run scored.
Harrisonburg second baseman Andy Perez and catcher Josh Clark both finished with two hits apiece.
New Market plays Staunton in a decisive game 3 Tuesday night, and the winner will face Waynesboro (and have home field advantage) for the Southern Division Championship.