Turks Fall to Express on Bizarre Ending

By Dave Norman
Web Cast Announcer

STRASBURG–With the race for the playoffs in full swing, Harrisonburg had a 9th-inning rally fall short on a game-ending triple play, losing 5-3 in Strasburg.

The game was a pitchers dual from the outset pitting Joseph Mannelly (Georgia Tech) against Cody Whitten for the Express. Both pitched well and the game was scoreless until the 4th.

The Turks scored 3 runs in the top of the 4th as Paul Castillo (Jacksonville), Kyle Johnson (Rider) and Zach Little all singled.

The Express solved Mannelly as well as two walks and a wild pitch loaded the bases for the Express. Jason Swann doubled to left to plate 2 runs. Tyler Blomquist (West Liberty) relieved Mannelly and retired the side.

The game was 3-2 Turks into the bottom of the 6th when the Express scored on a single and 4 stolen bases, including home by Kieton Rivers.

Chris Henry pitched well in relief for Strasburg, allowing no runs and just 2 hits, striking out 5 in 4 innings of work.

Cade Bullinger (Midland College) took the hill for the Turks in the 8th. Pinch hitter Mike Taylor singled and Griffin Cheney homered to give the Express their first lead at 5-3.

In the 9th, the Turks loaded the bases off Express closer Devin Dunn on singles by Austin Embler (UNC-Greensboro), Little and walk to Jack Wilson (Western Kentucky). Elian Merejo then hit a fly ball to rightfield that Rivers caught on the dive. He immediately threw to first to double off Wilson. Ryan Hogan then fired home to nab Little as he slid into home.

Johnson and Little each had 3 hits for the Turks. Embler was 2 for 3 with 2 walks.

The Turks are off today and travel to Staunton on Tuesday for a must-win against the Braves who are currently a game and a half in front of the Turks for the #4 seed, and final playoff spot in the Valley League Southern Division. Game time is 7:30 at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton.