Written by Brien Krug
Turks Staff Writer
June 23, 2021
Harrisonburg took the 30 minute road trip down I-81 to take on South division rival, the Staunton Braves in the first of two games in two days between the two.
After two lackluster offensive innings from the Turks, Garrett Simpson, Harrisonburg’s starting pitcher, got into some trouble. A 1 out error got the Staunton rally started before a triple down the right-field corner got the scoring opened. Simpson was able to get out of the inning only giving up one run.
The Turks would quickly respond as Austin Mueller would lead off the next inning with a double down the left-field line. A wild pitch would move Mueller over to 3rd before a sac fly from Carlos Marte would tie the game back up. Simpson wasn’t able to keep the Turks momentum going in the bottom half. A single would get the inning started for the Braves followed by a walk that moved the runners to 1st and 2nd. After a backward K, Staunton would get back-to-back singles to retake the lead 3-1.
The 3-1 lead wouldn’t last long as Conor Hartigan would lead off the next inning hitting his 3rd home run of the year out to deep left cutting the Braves lead in half. After the home run, the bats of both teams would stay quiet until the bottom of the 6th. Jackson Dennies would come on to replace Garrett Simpson and with 2 down in the inning, Braves DH Ian Diaz would launch a ball out to dead center extending the Staunton lead back to two runs.
But the Turks were not done yet. Harrisonburg’s first 3 batters would reach base, loading the bases quickly. A fielder’s choice from Bryce Safferwich would give the Turks a run and also leave runners at the corners with only 1 down. After a Carlos Marte strikeout, Clay Lockett would step to the plate and hit a clutch single to right scoring the runner from first, and after a throwing error from the right fielder of the Braves, Callaway Sigler, Bryce Safferwich would scramble home and score to give the Turks the 5-4 lead in the 7th.
After shutout innings in the bottom of the 7th and 8th innings, the Turks would add some insurance in the 9th. A walk from Bryce Safferwich followed by a Marte single would have Harrisonburg in business with 1 out. After a balk moved both runners up, a passed ball would score Safferwich from 3rd followed by a sac fly from Lockett scoring Marte and the Turks had a 3 run lead in the 9th. Christian Ciuffetelli would come on to close the game for Harrisonburg. After a leadoff double, Ciuffetelli would set down the next 3 Braves to secure the 7-4 win for the Turks.
Turks improve to 7-6 and get over the .500 mark for the first time since June 12th. Harrisonburg is back in action tomorrow night as they host the Staunton Braves (6-11) with the first pitch coming at 7:30 PM.