Turks Show Balance in Season-Opening Win

Written by Dave Norman
Webcast Announcer

HARRISONBURG –   Harrisonburg used a formula of solid pitching, spotless defense and timely hitting to break open a nail-biter pitchers dual and defeat Winchester 4-2 at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Starting Pitcher Jake Brace (Georgia Tech, Sophomore) overcame some early wildness and settled down with 7 solid innings, striking out 8, walking 3 and allowing two scrappy runs to a free-swinging Winchester Royals club.

Winchester took a 1-0 first-inning lead on a hit, walk and a couple of wild pitches by Brace. Right-hander Nicholas Beardsley (Point Park) pitched well for Winchester holding the Turks to 2 singles until the 4th.

In the 4th, the Turks solved Beardsley for two runs to take a 2-1 lead. Returning Turk 1B Luke Nussman (Shenandoah, Senior) and Brett Whelton (McNeese State, Sophomore) each singled. Tristan Baker (Shenandoah, Junior) singled to plate Nussman and Kyle Johnson (Rider, Sophomore) singled to score Whelton.

The Royals answered right back in the 5th to tie the game at 2. Joseph Sadallah singled, stole second and scored on a single by Chad Feeley. Brace limited any further damage by striking out Justin Meekins and Dominic Peroni.

It was then that Brace and Beardsley both settled down and did their best work. Both pitchers worked ahead of hitters retiring them with relative through the 7th. Rafe Schindler (New Orleans, Sophomore) relieved Brace in the eight fanning two in a quick 1-2-3 frame.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cam Irvine (Virginia Tech, Spotswood HS, Sophomore) laced a 2-strike single to right, Paul Castillo (Eastern Florida, Sophomore) drew a walk. Winchester relieved a tiring Beardsley with lefthander Ryan Flores (Lander). A move that was logical with left-hand hitters due up. Flores fanned Nussman on three breaking pitches trying to squelch the uprising. Already with two hits, Whelton fouled off the first curve that he saw before blasting the next curve deep into centerfield to the warning track over the head Meekins for a triple, scoring Irvine and Castillo. “I thought about pinch hitting for Whelton there because of the match up, but I need to see who can hit left-hand pitching and he had a couple of hits already” said Turks Coach Bob Wease.

The Turks took a 4-2 lead to the ninth and called on Josh Karklin (Wingate, Sophomore) to close it out. Samry Santos (Shorter University) singled and was pinch run for. William Welsh (Lancaster Bible Colllege) also singled and the Royals brought the go-ahead run to the plate. Pinch runner Matthew Holloway (Andrew College) was fooled by a whirling pickoff move by Karklin who fired to shortstop Johnson at second base for out number one. Karklin struggled to control his live fastball and restarted the uprising walking Kaylib Hanson (Alabama-Huntsville).

Karklin steadied himself and found his power pitching, forcing a jam shot flyball out of Sadallah to right and overpowering Feeley for a game-ending strikeout.

Whelton was the offensive star of the game with 3 hits and the game-breaking hit in the 8th. Cam Irvine was 2 for 3 after coming in for Josh Jones (James Madison, Sophomore) who injured an ankle running out a ground ball in the first. Jones will be out at least a couple of weeks said Wease.

Rafe Schindler (1-0) was the winning pitcher. Beardsley (0-1) took the loss for the Royals.

On Tuesday, the Turks travel to Front Royal to take on the Cardinals at Bing Crosby Stadium. Winchester hosts the Waynesboro Generals both games are at 7:00.

The Turks return home to Veteran’s Memorial Park on Wednesday to take on the Staunton Braves. It’s Luray Caverns Night. The first 100 fans receives a free admission ticket to Luray Caverns. Game time is 7:30.