TomSox, Turks Split

Turks Narrowly Miss No-Hitter In Second Game Of DH
Written by Phil D’Abbraccio
Daily News Record

HARRISONBURG – Bob Wease received a surprise gift Sunday evening.

During a pregame meeting at home plate, the Harrisonburg Turks manager’s wife, Teresa, presented him with a cake commemorating his 400th career win with the team – which came in a June 11 at Covington.

“I didn’t know she was going to do that. Shame on her,” Wease later said with a laugh. “I guess it’s good; I don’t know. I’ve been very fortunate to have these good players.”

Then right after accepting his gift and receiving applause from the Veterans Memorial Park crowd, Wease added to his win total.

Right-hander Donnie Sellers, a rising junior at Wake Forest, threw six hitless innings to guide the Turks to a 2-0 win over Charlottesville to split a Valley League doubleheader Sunday night. The TomSox took the first contest 6-1. Each game was seven innings long.

“I just couldn’t go back in, though,” said Sellers, who threw 70 pitches and improved to 2-0 on the season. “That’s the most pitches I’ve thrown, I think, in my whole life in one outing. There was no chance. I would’ve given up a hit.”

Turks catcher Mason George hit a two-run double to right field in the fourth inning to give Sellers all the run support he’d need.

Reliever Jake Lee was one strike away from completing the combined no-hitter in the seventh inning, but Charlottesville’s Bruce Steel drilled a double that one-hopped the right field wall.

Sellers said his chance at a no-hitter “wasn’t that important” to him, and that he’s trying to develop his arm strength to become a starting pitcher for Wake Forest next spring. The High Point, N.C., native said that he hadn’t started a game on the mound since his senior year of high school.

That outing lasted three innings, Sellers said.

“I just couldn’t do it,” Sellers said with a laugh.

Sellers brought a perfect game into the fifth inning Sunday before issuing a one-out walk. He struck out four batters on the night, effectively using his four- and two-seam fastballs, curveball and change-up.

“Everything” was working Sunday,” Sellers said.

“He was just wild enough that when he threw his curveball, you’ve got to just stand there,” Wease said. “Donnie’s gonna be a big-time pitcher. He really is. When he throw that curveball for a strike, your knees buckle.”

Sellers, who Wease said was throwing his fastball in the low 90s, now owns a 0.81 earned-run average and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings over four appearances this summer.

Charlottesville coach Travis Thomas pointed out, though, that his TomSox (6-8) were able to square up some of Sellers’ pitches.

“That’s baseball right there,” Thomas said. “We ran into a good arm with a good breaking ball, but we hit him hard. It was a loud no-hitter. That’s the way it is sometimes.”

In Sunday’s first contest, the TomSox scratched out two runs in the third, and pulled away with three runs in the seventh off James Madison left-hander Eric Yankey, a former Turner Ashby High School standout.

Right-hander Brooks Crawford, a rising sophomore for Clemson, went 6 1/3 innings for Charlottesville, holding the Turks to six hits and one run. Harrisonburg stranded the bases loaded to end Sunday’s first game.

“It’s going to happen,” Wease said. “You’re going to lose a game here and there. The guys bounced back, we won a game and that’s all that matters.”

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