7/31/04 – Written by Denise Wampler, JMU Communications Intern
The Harrisonburg TURKS, the number one seed in the Southern Division, came up short to Covington (number four seed), in the first game of a best of three series. The TURKS fell to the Lumberjacks, 6-5 tonight, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Harrisonburg. The Lumberjacks jumped to an early 2-0 lead, after scoring two runs, off two hits, including a solo homer by Wally Crancer, in the opening first inning. The TURKS answered back in the bottom half of the first scoring one run of their own off two hits. The TURKS went on to tie the game in the bottom of the second, as Jeff Halbert (Junior, Rollins College) lead off the inning with a walk. Right fielder, Kevin Koski (Freshman, Southern Illinois), followed with a bunt single, advancing Halbert to second. Next batter, Reggie Watson (Junior, Indiana), hit into a double play,however, succeeded in moving Halbert to third. With two outs, first baseman, Joe Kemp (Junior, Indiana), connected on one of his three hits on the night, singling to right and scoring Halbert from third. The Lumberjacks produced nine hits on the night, two which came in the top of the fourth. The visitors two hits in the inning, along with a TURK error, allowed the Lumberjacks to manufacture two more runs and regain the lead 4-2. The TURKS were held at two runs until the bottom of the eighth where they produced two runs off a bunt single, an infield hit, two sac flies and a Lumberjack error. The TURKS and Lumberjacks entered the final inning tied at four a piece. The ninth was an exciting inning that livened up fans from both respected teams. Andrew Weber (Junior, Southern Illlinois), started the ninth for the TURKS, relieving Nick Pereira (Junior, San Francisco), who had gone the previous eight innings. Weber was able to retire the first Lumberjack batter on strikes, before David Carpenter, singled to center. He then collected out number two, as he eliminated the next Lumberjack on strikes. With two outs, the visiting squad made its rally. Weber intentionally walked the next batter, Tom Hagan, setting up a force out at first, second, or third. The Lumberjacks responded, however, as next batter, Ryan Taylor doubled to center, scoring Carpenter, and advancing Hagan to third. A balk was later called against Weber, scoring Hagan from third and giving the Lumberjacks the 6-4 lead. The TURKS were able to escape the inning without anymore damage, but the pressure was on for the home squad. The TURKS threatened in the ninth, as they produced one run off one hit, and a Lumberjack error, but their efforts came up short as they were handed a 6-5 loss. The TURKS were lead offensively, by Kemp, who was 3-4 on the night with two RBI’s. Koski and Watson added two hits a piece. Nick Pereria made the start for the TURKS, going eight complete innings, allowing four runs, off seven hits, striking out 11, and walking three, while Weber was charged with the loss, falling to 3-3 on the year. The TURKS will travel to Covington tomorrow to take on the Lumberjacks in game two of the best of three. If another game is needed the Lumberjacks will return to Veterans Memorial Stadium, Mon. August 2. Game time for both games will be 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Harrisonburg TURKS! GO TURKS! The TURKS would also like to acknowledge the following players that were recognized at tonights game for their accomplishments this season: Defensive Player of the Year: Gered Mochizuki (Yavapai JC) Offensive Player of the Year: Joe Kemp (Indiana) Stolen Base Award: Reggie Watson (Indiana) Pitcher of the Year: Tim Gudex (Iowa) MVP of the Year: Joe Kemp (Indiana) Congrats from the Harrisonburg Coaching Staff and fans!