Turks Stumble Again

6/24/2005 – Daily News Record

Covington Blanks Harrisonburg, 3-0 By Marcus Helton Daily News Record It’s official: the Harrisonburg Turks are in a slump, and they’ve put themselves there with a plethora of mistakes on offense and defense. The Covington offense took advantage of three Harrisonburg defensive mistakes, and it’s pitching handled the rest as the Lumberjacks beat the Turks 3-0 on Thursday at Memorial Stadium. The lumberjacks improve to 13-6; the Turks fall to 9-9. Covington pitcher Sam Walls (North Carolina State) baffled the Turks’ batters all game long, allowing just four hits to get the win. Chris Siebenaler (Florida International) struck out four in 1 2/3 hitless innings of relief to get the save. After a recent five-game win streak that had them just a half game behind first place Covington earlier this week, the Turks have dropped three straight, and are three and a half games back. "We’re in a little funk right now, that’s all," Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said. "And the guys are starting to press and when you press that’s when errors happen. It’s just the way it goes; they’re pressing. They’re afraid they’re going to make an error because we’ve been making a lot of errors, and when you’re playing like that, that’s when you’re going to make errors. We’ve just got to relax, that’s all." The Turks’ mistakes weren’t all defensive, however Harrisonburg also suffered from some early costly base running gaffes, as two runners were thrown out trying to steal third base without being told to do so. "We were just trying to be aggressive stealing third and I didn’t give the signal on either one," Wease said. "But you’d rather have guys doing that than not playing at all…This was a great ballgame; it could ahve gone either way. It could ahve been 2-0 Harrisonburg going into the ninth inning." The Lumberjacks scored their first run on an error by Harrisonburg shortstop Steve Head (Indiana) in the fourth inning, and Walls made it stand. Harrisonburg’s best chance to score came in the eighth inning. Trailing 1-0, Head hit a triple to right field and Tony Thomas walked to put runners on the corners with two outs. That was all the offense the Turks would muster, however, as Siebernaler struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Head finished 2 for 3 to lead the Turks, but was stranded on third base twice. Harrisonburg lefthander Stephen Ochs (Florida State) took the loss and fell to 2-1 despite a solid performance. Ochs allowed four hits through eight innings, striking out eight and walking three. In the ninth inning, Covington put runners on the corners with one out. Jacks third baseman Charles Cleveland (Florida State) laid down a bunt and Michael Cowgill (James Madison) ran home from third base. Ochs tried to throw Cowgill out, but his throw went past catcher Matt Sluder, putting Covington up 2-0. Ochs was then relieved by Chad Dawson (Indiana State) who threw a wild pitch to score Covington’s third run before retiring the side. The Turks close out this week’s five games-in five-days home stand with Staunton today, then begin a stretch of three consecutive road games. Head said he is confident the team can rebound. "We’ve shown that we can put a winning streak together," Head said. "We won five straight, but once we start to jell a little better, and guys start to relax and play a little mroe confident – right now we’re playing on our heels a little bit – we’ll be alright, we’ll be fine." Covington 000 100 002 – 3 6 1 Harrisonburg 000 000 000 – 0 4 3 Walls, Siebenaler (8) and Mercado; Ochs, Dawnson (9) and Sluder. W – Walls (1-1) L – Ochs (2-1) S – Siebenaler (4)