Turks Elude Royals late for Third Straight WinChase Kiddy | Harrisonburg Turks Staff Writer
W: Garrett Ford (1-1)
L: Brandon Valentin (0-1)
S: Logan Onda (2)
The Turks used a fast start to beat the rain and the Winchester Royals Sunday night, earning their third straight victory by a score of 4-2.
Trailing 4-1 in the eighth, Winchester (3-4) came close to rallying back into the game. Third baseman Alex Mata reached on an error by shortstop Steven McLean, who had made brilliant plays all night but somehow let one slip right under his glove. Reliever Tanner Shelton, who had just entered the game at the beginning of the inning, walked three of the next four batters, loading the bases and spotting the Royals a run.
Logan Onda then entered the game to manage the loaded bases, and he got left fielder Logan Carter to ground out to McLean, ending the inning.
The Royals weren’t done though. In the ninth, with sheets of rain threatening to derail the game, Winchester felt like a team with all the momentum. Catcher Corey Chafin hit a leadoff single, and it seemed like the Royals might be able to steal one if they could just score a couple of quick ones before the weather got worse. But pinch hitter Cody Bower grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, killing any momentum the visitors had. Right fielder Scott Miller still took a walk, and Mata batted his second single of the night, but Onda struck out shortstop Alex de Watteville to end the game.
Harrisonburg (4-3) jumped out to an early lead in the first inning for the fourth time this season. Newly re-minted Turk Thomas Smith, playing in his first game in Veterans Memorial Park since last summer’s playoffs, took a walk during his first plate appearance. Matt Rose smacked a single up the middle past de Watteville, and after left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch’s infield groundout advanced both runners to scoring position, third baseman Brandon Gold smashed a decisive hit deep into right center that plated Smith and Rose.
Winchester got on the board in the top of the sixth, with help from some poor fielding. Mata grounded a ball straight to the mound, which starting pitcher Garrett Ford didn’t field cleanly. He rushed a throw to first, which sailed to the right of the bag, and Mata took second during the scramble. Immediately after, de Watteville’s single to right field bounced past Luke Czajkowski, scoring Mata.
Harrisonburg starter Garrett Ford earned the win after a nice outing, scattering six hits across seven innings with no earned runs. He didn’t walk a single batter.
Matt Rose finished 3 of 4 with a score on the night, upping his batting average to an eye-popping .483, good for second in the entire league. Covington’s Jose Carrera is batting .500 through four games.
Brandod Gold finished 2 of 4 with 2 RBI.
Winchester’s Mata finished 2 of 5 with both of the Royals’ runs scored. He also reached on error twice.
The Turks do not have any makeup games to play on Monday and will be in Charles Town on Tuesday night. The next Turks home game is Wednesday night, against the Aldie Senators. That game is scheduled for 7:30pm at Veterans Memorial Park.
Chase Kiddy has served as the Harrisonburg Turks’ staff writer since Spring 2012. Contact him at email@example.com, or yell at him in the press box during home games at Veterans Memorial Park.