CHARLES TOWN, W. Va., July 11, 2015 – The Harrisonburg Turks held on to defeat the Charles Town Cannons 7-5 on Saturday at Sager Field. After the Cannons had already scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to trim the lead to 7-5. Turks relief pitcher Patrick Herbelin (Texas-San Antonio) struck out Cannons first baseman Austin Bream (Liberty) as the potential tying run at the plate to end the game. Turks starting pitcher Jared Datoc (Georgia Tech) pitched five solid innings for the win in his first start of the season.
The Turks led 7-1 heading to the ninth and the Turks Patrick Herbelin had already pitched two scoreless inning in relief. With one out Turks shortstop Ryan Phillips (Tennessee Wesleyan) made an error allowing Cannons left fielder Riley McCown (Alabama Birmingham) to reach first base. After back-to-back singles, Cannons third basemen Gunnar Lambert (Florida Atlantic) stepped in with the bases loaded and one out. Lambert cleared the bases with a double and cut the Turks lead to 7-4. After a groundout moved Lambert to third base, Cannons designated hitter Palance Harris II (Alabama State) singled in Lambert to trim the Turks lead to 7-5. However Herbelin was able to strike out Bream to end the ballgame.
The Turks offense was led by All-Stars Shane Billings (Wingate) and Tyler Straub (Texas-San Antonio). Billings went 3 for 5 with two triples, two runs scored and a run batted in. Straub went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a run batted in as the Turks scored seven runs on ten hits.
Turks starting pitcher Jared Datoc made his first start of the season. Datoc had made eight relief appearances prior to this start. Tonight Datoc pitched five innings allowing three hits, one earned run, walking two and striking out four to earn his first win of the season. Then Kale Morton made only his second relief appearance of the season. Morton (Arizona) threw one scoreless inning and struck out one. Then Herbelin came in to pitch the final three innings and gave up five hits, four runs, two earned, while striking out four to earn his second save of the season.
The Charles Town offense was only able to score one run before the ninth inning. Yet they did end up recording five runs on ten hits. Seven of the nine starters recorded one hit and Gunnar Lambert was on base three times with a walk, two hits, two runs scored and three runs batted in. Palance Harris II also had a good night he went 2 for 4 with a run batted in.
The Charles Town pitching staff did not fare well tonight. The starter Tyler Dearden allowed ten hits, seven runs, six earned, he struck out six however he did manage to save the bullpen as he pitched eight innings. Nicholas McIntyre (Mary Washington) relieved Dearden and threw a scoreless inning striking out two.
The Turks scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings while scoring four huge insurance runs in the eighth inning. In the first, Straub produced an RBI ground out after Billings led off the game with a triple. Then in the fourth inning the Turks executed a perfect double steal with runners on first and third to produce the second run of the ball game. Then in the bottom of that fourth the Cannons scored their lone run before the ninth thanks to an error by the Turks right fielder Jesse Baker (Texas San Antonio) making it 2-1 Turks. In the fifth inning after Turks shortstop Tripp Shelton (North Carolina-Greensboro) singled. Billings hit another triple scoring Shelton to make it 3-1 Turks. Then in the eighth inning, the Turks widened the lead, after Shelton led off the inning with a triple, Billings hit a ball to the Cannons second baseman Sam Fragale (Virginia Tech) who booted it allowing Billings to reach and Shelton to score making 4-1. Then after Joe Lytle (Oklahoma City) singled and Billings reached third on a wild pitch. Straub singled in Billings to make it 5-1. Lytle proceeded to third base on the single and he scored on another wild pitch to make it 6-1. Then two batters later Turks right fielder Jesse Baker singled home Straub to make it 7-1.
There are no games scheduled for tomorrow as the All-Star Game will be held at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg Va. Come out to see the Valley League All-Stars, gates open to the public at 3:00 p.m., batting practice at 3:30 p.m., 60-yard dash contest at 4:50 p.m. and Home Run Derby contest at 5:20 p.m. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. between the North and South Division all-stars.