Valley Baseball League Playoffs: Braves tie up Turks

8/1/05 – Staunton News Leader

Staunton’s bats come to life to force deciding Game 3 By Ron Hartlaub Sports Writer Tonight’s Game 3 Staunton at Harrisonburg, 7:30 p.m. STAUNTON — With the team facing elimination Sunday night in the Valley Baseball League playoffs, the Staunton Braves’ bats finally came alive. Drew Bunting’s eighth-inning RBI-double plated the winning run as Staunton stayed alive with a 7-6 victory over the Harrisonburg Turks, evening the best-of-three series at a game apiece. Joe Angelberger led off the eighth by grounding a single to center, and was sacrificed to second by Taylor Shoop, setting the stage for Bunting. "They surprised me with a fastball on the first pitch," said the infielder from Panola JC. "Then they threw a curveball middle-in and I was able to get a hold of it." Chase Tucker, who played the first eight innings in leftfield, took the mound in the ninth and retired Harrisonburg in order, making a winner of reliever Andy Svitak. "I just tried to go up there and throw strikes," said Svitak, who allowed only one hit while striking out five in 2 1-3 innings of relief. "I had some mechanical problems early on (in the season). I’m locating better now and have a lot more confidence." The Turks went with starter Sean Jarrett, who had a no-hitter in his last outing, but the Braves wasted no time in jumping all over the right-hander. Spike Austin led off the first with a single and eventually scored on Angelberger’s ground out. Shoop and Nick Massari executed a double steal to make it 2-0. After Harrisonburg tied it up on a run-scoring double by Jeff Carroll in the third and an unearned run in the fourth, Staunton exploded for four in the bottom of the fourth. Shoop led off the inning with a home run, Austin chipped in a two-run single and Sean McCahill singled home the final run. Pinch-hitter Matt Denker hit a three-run homer as part of a four-run sixth to knot the score at 6-6, setting the stage for Bunting’s game winner. "Hopefully this will give us a boost going into (tonight’s) game and the rest of the playoffs," Bunting said. "The pitchers have been carrying us. It’s good to give them a break." "We got on them early, and that was a key," said Staunton manager Lance Mauck. "If we put the bat on the ball and don’t strike out, we can score runs." Wade Korpi of Notre Dame is scheduled to start at Harrisonburg tonight for the Braves. The Turks are expected to counter with either Shawn Benson or Eric Fussell. Jarrett, Baugh (5) and Martinez. Rule, McGahey (6), Svitak (6), Tucker (9) and Bernstine, Engelhardt (7). W — Svitak. L — Baugh. S — Tucker. HR — Shoop (S) 4th, none on; Denker (H) 6th, two on.