Generals stay perfect behind nine hits, four Harrisonburg errorsChase Kiddy | Harrisonburg Turks Staff Writer
W: Phillip Taylor (1-0)
L: Logan Onda (0-1)
The Waynesboro Generals capitalized on more poor fielding late Tuesday night, pushing one across in the eighth and three more in the ninth to beat the Turks 7-3. Harrisonburg has now lost three consecutive games for the first time since June 15-17, 2012.
After notching runs in back-to-back innings, the Turks had knotted the score at 3-3 entering the top of the eighth. That’s when Eugene Vasquez reached on a throwing error by Harrisonburg shortstop Steven McLean, who put just a little too much air under his throw to first. Daniel Nichols had to jump high off the bag to wrangle the throw, and Vasquez reached base as he was in the air.
Vasquez stole second and advanced to third when Generals first baseman Dre Gleason grounded out to second. Kevin Krupp’s RBI single eventually scored Vasquez and proved to be the game’s deciding go-ahead run.
The Generals tacked on three more runs in the ninth for good measure. Turks right fielder Jesse Baker dropped a routine fly ball deep in the outfield, and Generals DH Dan Neff made it to second. Another RBI single, this one from third baseman Michael McClellan, scored Neff to push the lead to two runs. A single from Vasquez advanced McClellan to third, and Vasquez took second on the attempted throw-out at third.
Pinch hitter Robert Bennie singled into center field to cap the inning, plating Vasquez and McClellan before he was thrown out trying to take second.
Harrisonburg (1-3) looked good early, despite giving up critical runs late. Center fielder Thomas Spitz continued his hot start to the season, digging out a lead-off single in the first inning and eventually scoring the game’s first run. That lead held up until Waynesboro center fielder Chase Hamilton detonated a 3-run bomb over the right field fence that may or may not have lowered the Kelly Blue Book value of at least one car driving down Harrisonburg’s South High Street.
The Turks halved the two-run deficit in the sixth, when Generals reliever Micah Gorman walked both second baseman Hunter King and Baker, and DH Christopher Barr scored Hunter with an RBI single. They evened the score in the seventh, when King’s late single plated McLean.
Waynesboro (3-0) was the latest southern division rival to take advantage of some early erroneous play by the Harrisonburg. The Turks also committed four errors Sunday night in a 6-5 loss to Staunton, including a critical one in the third inning that might have cost them the game. Harrisonburg also committed three errors in a loss to the Strasburg Express on Saturday.
This marks the first time a Turks team has lost three consecutive games since mid-June 2012. A 3-2 loss to New Market and a 4-1 loss at Rockbridge preceded a 6-5 loss in Waynesboro, where the Generals won thanks to catcher Ryan Breen’s walk-off home run.
The Turks had the next day off, beat Staunton 7-6 two days later and eventually won the VBL championship that year.
If the Turks could clean up their fielding, there’s a lot of burgeoning talent at the plate. Spitz is hitting .471, and Matt Rose and Luke Czajkowski are both hitting .400 even. Despite going 0 for 4 on Tuesday night, Eric Kalbfleisch leads the league with seven RBIs.
Harrisonburg will sit Wednesday night out and play two road games up north later this week, in Front Royal (4-0) and Woodstock (1-3). The Turks return home on Sunday to play Winchester. Game time is 7:30.
Chase Kiddy has served as the Harrisonburg Turks’ staff writer since Spring 2012. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or yell at him in the press box during home games at Veterans Memorial Park.