Terni Powers Royals to Win — Winchester Rolls at Bridgeforth

6/17/04 – Winchester Star

By Ben Brooks The Winchester Star ——————————————————————————– Winchester Royals pitcher Brent Hitz atoned for a sub-par performance in his previous Valley Baseball League outing on Wednesday night. Jeremy Terni, meanwhile, kept up his blistering pace at the plate. Jeremy Terni of the Winchester Royals follows through on his swing after hitting a grand slam against the Harrisonburg Turks on Wednesday. The Royals beat the Turks 12-0. (Photo by Ginger Perry) That tandem helped power Winchester to an easy 12-0 victory over Southern Division leader Harrisonburg before a crowd of 460 at Bridgeforth Field. The Royals (4-5) broke open a scoreless contest with nine runs over the middle three innings to win for the third time in their last four games. Terni, who entered the game batting .533 and with 10 more RBIs than the next highest Royal, hit a grand slam off Turks starter Greg Nesbitt (1-1) in the bottom of the fifth. The third baseman’s fourth homer of the season staked the Royals and Hitz to a 6-0 lead. “The one before that was just a first-pitch fastball,” said Terni, who barely missed a homer in the fourth inning when he doubled off the top of the fence in center. “I was expecting it and hopped on it. Winchester Royals shortstop Eric Patten backhands the ball before making the throw to first base for the out during Wednesday’s game against Harrisonburg at Bridgeforth Field. (Photo by Ginger Perry) “The next time I was looking for something off-speed. He gave me a curveball and I hit it over the fence. I was just looking to get a ball in the zone that I could put in the outfield.” Terni, who went 3 for 4 with five RBIs, has now driven in 21 runs in nine games. Just as important, the Royals are starting to get production from the rest of the lineup. Seven different players drove in runs in Wednesday’s 10-hit attack that came on the heels of Tuesday’s 15-run outburst against Woodstock. In its first seven games, Winchester scored 29 runs. In their last two, the Royals have plated 27. “We’re playing good defense, pitching well, and swinging the bats extremely well,” Royals manager Keith Little said. “We’ve got a young group. I think they’re starting to realize what it takes in this league. Right now, we’re trying to stay afloat until we get everybody in here.” The Royals, who are expecting four more players to arrive by the weekend, added three more runs in the sixth off Chris Vasami, the second of Harrisonburg’s four pitchers, and three more in the eighth without a hit. Hitz (1-1), who tossed a complete-game four-hit gem, didn’t need much support, but he was glad to get it. “It’s a lot easier to pitch when you get a lot of run support,” said Hitz, who struck out just three but didn’t issue a single walk. “We’re hitting the ball well. I think we’re going to get on a little roll here.” Hitz’s previous VBL appearance was 42/3-inning effort in a loss at New Market. “He pitched great,” Harrisonburg manager and owner Bob Wease said of Hitz, a left-hander from George Mason. “He was either awfully good or we were awfully bad. I think it was a combination of both. I don’t know what it is about this park, but we never play well here. We go to Staunton or Covington and look like world beaters. We come here and it’s like we’re in the twilight zone.” The Turks (6-3), losers of two straight, still maintain their lead in the Southern Division. “The last 11 innings we haven’t played well,” Wease said. “You’re going to have a couple of games like that. You just have to battle through it.” Hitz threw 104 pitches and allowed just two Harrisonburg runners to get into scoring position — neither past second base. While Winchester’s pitching rotation may be tweaked with the arrival of several players in the coming days, Little said Hitz certainly helped his chances with Wednesday’s outing. “If he keeps pitching like that he’ll be in there somewhere,” Little said. In addition to Terni, Royals catcher Jared Rolen (2 for 5 with an RBI) had a multiple-hit game. Winchester looks to continue its recent hot streak tonight at Northern Division-leading Luray and Friday at home against New Market. “We’ve got a tough stretch here,” Little said. “Obviously you’d like to win them all. But I think you look at the first 10 games, until everybody gets here, you’d like to be around 5-5.”