Written By Jackson Campbell
NEW MARKET, VA. The Turks had their work cut out for them on Sunday night in a defensive struggle against the New Market Rebels, but ultimately walked out with a 3-2 win. Newly arrived, 6’3 right-handed pitcher John McCarren (Wake Forest) took the hill for Harrisonburg and gave up only one run in five strong innings.
On the other side, UNC Wilmington’s Justin Crump got the start for the home team, also yielding just a single run off of a Greg Popatak single in the first that scored Tripp Shelton. Crump got into a spot of trouble in the fifth Jonathan Pryor seemingly had a RBI double scoring Shelton, but Shelton missed third base and the play was successfully appealed by the Rebels.
The stalemate was finally broken in the top of the sixth when Trevor Denton brought home Bryan Arias and Popatak, giving the Turks the go ahead runs that New Market would not recover from.
Greg Paprocki, with two starts already under his belt, gave Harrisonburg two scoreless innings of relief before Christian Bourne entered to close the game. Bourne gave up a run off of a Nick Debo (UNC Pembroke) single in the bottom of the ninth but got Alec Dowell (Lander University) to fly out to Jason Serchay in right field to end the ballgame and move the Turks to 5-3.
Popatak and Denton were the offensive standouts this game, moving their averages to .464 and .393 on the season, respectively. Nights like these are won by the pitchers though, and McCarren’s transition into the Valley Baseball League was as smooth as the team could have hoped.
Harrisonburg continues their road swing tonight in Winchester, taking on the 5-3 Royals at 7:00 at Jim Barnett Park.