Kevin Lewallyn’s Complete Game Shutout Fuels Harrisonburg’s 21st WinBy Chase Kiddy | Harrisonburg Turks Staff Writer
W: Kevin Lewallyn (3-1)
L: Luke Mould (0-2)
Harrisonburg was the beneficiary of a huge performance from starting pitcher Kevin Lewallyn on Thursday night in a 5-0 victory over the Winchester Royals.
Lewallyn went the distance, scattering nine hits across nine innings and shutting out the Royals in his first complete game of the season. The result: Harrisonburg earned its 21st win of the season in headline-making fashion, and with Lewallyn’s mother in attendance as the cherry on top.
Harrisonburg (21-12) only needed the first run of the night, which came in the second inning. Third baseman Matt Rose reached first when his hard-hit ball skipped right over the glove and through the legs of Winchester third baseman Brandon Canizares. He was advanced on Eric Kalbfleisch’s infield single into the hole and reached third when head coach Bob Wease had Brandon Gold bunt both he and Kalbfleisch ahead.
Gold’s bunt went straight to the mound, and Royals starter Luke Mould spun on his heels and fired the ball to second, opting to tag out Kalbfleisch at second instead of Gold at first. Either way, catcher Joey Roach hit a soaring sacrifice fly to center during the next at bat to score Rose from third.
The Turks distanced themselves from the Royals lating, adding two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth.
In the seventh, Mould gave up a base hit to center fielder Thomas Spitz and walked Thomas Smith before finally being relieved by Brandon Valentine. But Valentine didn’t fare much better — he immediately gave up an RBI single up the middle to pinch hitter Luke Czajkowski that scored Spitz and doubled the Turks’ lead to 2-0. Later, Daniel Nichols popped up a high ball into shallow left that Royals shortstop Lucas Luopa attempted to back up and catch, but he couldn’t quite real it in. Nichols had reached second after the ball finally dropped, while Smith had scored.
In the eight, with Will Pozo pitching for the Royals, Brandon Gold smashed a lead-off double back onto the left center field warning track. After Roach was walked, Spitz bunted both runners ahead, and shortstop Steven McLean lined one into left field to plate Gold and Roach for a final tally of five runs.
Eight Turks registered at least one hit Thursday night; Czajkowski, Gold, Spitz and Nichols all registered two.
Lewallyn earned his third win of the season, and his earned run average plummets to 3.05 through seven starts and 44.1 innings pitched.
But Lewallyn’s complete game is bigger than just one game or one win. Facing the annual time crunch at the end of the Valley League regular season, rested pitching is at an all-time premium for every team right now. Lewallyn’s full-framer, combined with Wednesday’s off day, buys the other pitchers in the bullpen enough rest time for a proper reset.
And the Turks will need that rest. Friday night, Harrisonburg will host league-leading Front Royal, with plenty of playoff implications on the line. As of this writing, Front Royal (23-12) leads Harrisonburg by just one game in the VBL standings. The winner of Friday night’s game controls their destiny for the No. 1 seed in the Valley League playoffs.
Friday’s showdown is scheduled for 7:30pm at Veterans Memorial Park. Come out to support your Turks as the playoff push begins!
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.