Covington Cuts Harrisonburg’s Season Short in First Round

Jacks Top Turks 3-1 to Advance to VBL Playoff Semifinals
W: Phillip Stokes (1-1)
L: J.R. Holloway (1-2)
S: Cody Strayer (3)

 

Hosting a survive-and-advance Game 3 with the Covington Lumberjacks in the Valley League playoff quarterfinals, Harrisonburg was unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities late in the game. The Lumberjacks outlasted the Turks in Thursday’s deciding Game 3, eliminating them from the playoffs and ending another otherwise successful season in Harrisonburg.

Harrisonburg (30-15) nearly overcame a late 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning with runners on first and second, but it came up short when third baseman Matt Rose grounded into a crucial 4-6-3 double play.

The game was a defensive battle through the first three innings, as both teams combined for just four hits. However, Covington drew first blood in the top of the fourth inning with Jonathan Flores’ line drive to shallow left field, which scored Grant McKown from third.

During the next at-bat, Demetrius Moorer hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hayden Platt from third.

The Turks battled back in the bottom of the inning, scoring Eric Kalbfleisch off of a fielder’s choice hit by Chris Barr, making the score 2-1. But the Lumberjacks tacked on one more run on in the sixth after a wild pitch by J.R. Holloway allowed McKown to score from third.

The Turks had a couple of opportunities to catch up. In the bottom of the sixth, they planted runners on first and second with no outs. But a strikeout and two flyouts extinguished any hope of a mid-game rally.

Then, Rose’s double play in the eighth seemed to seal the Turks’ fate.

Both starting pitchers seemed a little shaky throughout various times during the game. Covington’s starter, Phillip Stokes, started strong by retiring six consecutive batters, but later struggled to get the ball over the plate. He finished with his first VBL win of the summer after scattering six hits and notching three strikeouts over 7.2 innings pitched.

Cody Strayer, who came into the game with one out remaining in the eighth inning, earned the save for Covington. He allowed no hits or walks down the stretch for his second save of the VBL playoffs.

For Harrisonburg, Holloway never got into a groove, allowing six hits and two walks over six innings.

The Lumberjacks’ win sends them to the semifinal series against the No. 2 seed Waynesboro Generals. The first game will be in Waynesboro on Friday night.

 

 

The Turks’ season might be over, but our coverage of the 2014 Valley League Season is far from done. Check back with www.harrisonburgturks.com for continuing coverage of the Turks and Valley League baseball.


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