By Jack Fitzpatrick
Web Cast Intern
COVINGTON– On a beautiful Shenandoah Valley night the Harrisonburg Turks’ (17-19) offense came alive beating the Covington Lumberjack (22-13) 18-8. In a game that lasted just over the three hours, Harrisonburg was able to create their own opportunities and continue to pour on the runs until the very end.
The Turks wasted no time getting on the scoreboard putting up runs in two of the first three innings. In the top of the first the Turks were rolling, Austin Embler and Elian Merejo got on base with a single and Paul Castillo was able to send them home with his first three-run homerun. The Turks jumped out to a three run lead and never looked back as that would be the closest the game would be all night.
The Lumberjacks seemed to an answer for the Turks three-spot as Covington’s leadoff man, Bennett Hostetler, got things rolling with a double to center field. However Turks starting pitcher Eli Ellington settled in and got the next three batters out negating any threat.
In the top of the third inning the Turks were able to hang another crooked number on the board behind another three-run blast from Castillo. After two quick outs in the third Zach Little and Merejo both got on with singles giving Castillo the opportunity and he delivered. From there the Turks really rolled.
The Turks failed to score in only four innings and the lowest amount they scored in an inning was three. They hung three three-run innings, one four-run inning and a five-running up on the Lumberjacks en route to the most runs they have scored all season.
The Turks were able to get some guys essential playing time as well later on in the game. In the fifth inning Kyle Johnson came in for Austin Embler and Luke Nussman came in for Elian Merejo at first. Newcomer, Jack Wilson from Western Kentucky, also was able to come in and play some right field for Little.
Overall Harrisonburg’s offense erupted for 15 hits, 18 runs and everyone who had a plate appearance was able to get on base at least once.
Ellington received the win for the Turks after he pitched 5.2 innings striking out nine and allowing just three runs. Cody Burnham of the Lumberjacks received the loss as he allowed 11 runs and only struck out two in his 3.2 innings pitched. The Turks also used Bailey Sutton, another newcomer from Western Kentucky, Daniel Brandon and Jake Lane in relief appearances combining for 3.1 inning pitched three strikeouts and five earned runs.
This was a game that the Turks lead wire-to-wire and blew out the team with the best record in the Southern Division on their home turf where previous to this loss, only had five losses. Castillo had a big time night going 2 for 5 with two home runs and six RBIs. Merejo also had a big time night going 3 for 3 with three runs a homerun and two RBIs. The offense produced in bunches which was exactly what they needed to do in the thick of this playoff hunt.
The Turks are at home tonight as they wrap up their season series with the Winchester Royals. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m. It is also Luray Caverns night, the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free admission ticket to Luray Caverns. Scheduled to start on the mound for the Turks is Jake Brace (0-3) and Ruben Ramirez (2-0) for the Royals.