Kalbfleisch Powers Dramatic Opening Day Walk-Off Win

Turks walk off on Opening Night, Beat New Market 5-4


Chase Kiddy | Harrisonburg Turks Staff Writer

 

W: Tyler Brown (1-0)
L: Joseph Pokrentowski (0-1)

 

The Turks opened the 2014 season in dramatic fashion, walking off on left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch’s infield chopper and beating the rival Rebels 5-4 in a wild finish.

Harrisonburg (1-0) entered the bottom of the ninth looking to break a 4-4 deadlock and head home on time. Pinch hitter Luke Czajkowski dropped a lead-off single deep in the outfield, so center fielder Thomas Spitz laid down a sacrifice bunt that was meant only to advance the runner into scoring position. However, New Market first baseman Chittester mishandled the throw and Spitz reached on error.

After first baseman Christopher Barr’s ground-out advanced Czajkowski and Spitz to second and third, respectively, and second baseman Hunter King was walked on four straight balls to load the bases, returning Turk Eric Kalbfleisch made his fifth plate appearance of the night. He swung at the first pitch, cranking out a choppy, slow-moving grounder up the first base line. Chittester couldn’t make the throw home in time, and Czajkowski plated for the game-winning run.

New Market threatened to spoil Harrisonburg’s Opening Day after a big sixth inning. The Turks led for the first half of the night after scoring an early run in the bottom of the first, but the Rebs tagged starter Kevin Lewallyn for two runs (one earned) after two singles, two walks, and a throwing error by King. Reliever Tyler Brown took the mound, allowing two more unearned runs before he could stop the bleeding.

The Turks tacked on a second score in the bottom of the sixth, off third baseman Matt Rose’s RBI triple. They evened the score one frame later, when King drew a bases-loaded walk, and Kalbfleisch reached on an awkward infield blooper that dropped behind the mound.

Kalbfleisch, the 2013 VBL all-star game MVP who hit .354 last summer, notched 3 RBIs Friday night. He was responsible for the Turks’ first run, the tying run and the eventual go-ahead score. Only Kalbfleisch, Covington’s Matt ONeil and Front Royal’s Hunter Newman have three RBIs after Friday.

Lewallyn earned a no decision. He allowed three hits, four walks and one earned run, fanning three. Brown was awarded the win after 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The Harrisonburg Turks will play their second game of the 2014 season Saturday night against the visiting Strasburg Express. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:30pm.

 

 

Chase Kiddy has served as the Harrisonburg Turks’ staff writer since 2012. Contact him at ckiddy09@gmail.com, or yell at him in the press box during home games at Veterans Memorial Park.

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