New Market Stifles Harrisonburg

7/3/2006 – Daily News Record

Daily News Record Written By Jeremy Cothran Rebels pitcher Kenny McGrady held the Turks to just one run on five hits in a 4-1 win Sunday. Bob Wease finished up with a radio interview and then immediately slumped onto a bleacher seat near the press box at Memorial Stadium. Shaking his head, the Harrisonburg manager could not seem to conjure up any explanation for the Turks’ anemic offensive performance in a 4-1 loss to New Market in Sunday night’s Valley League baseball game. "Well, I don’t know," Wease said. "We were in the ball game, we hit the ball hard but we just could not buy a hit." It might be better to say the Turks could not buy a run. Rebels’ starting pitcher Kenny McGrady scattered five hits in 8 1/3 innings, relying on pinpoint control with his fastball and a deadly curve ball that kept the Turks hitters off balance all night. He struck out just one batter, but the Turks didn’t do much with the balls they hit. When they did make solid contact, the ball usually went right to a New Market infielder. Wease was more disappointed that his team could not generate offense against a left-hander with a fastball that would fail to impress most high school hitters, let alone collegiate stars. "It’s frustrating," Wease said. "Watching him pitch, you would think that we’d be ripping [that fastball.] We’re not good against those soft lefties. They get away with a lot." McGrady knows his fastball – which he said tops out at 81-82 miles per hour — isn’t going to have scouts salivating. But on Sunday, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington pitcher used it effectively to get ahead of hitters, which forced the Turks to chase his curveball and slider. Confidence was also an issue for McGrady, who had been struggling until Rebels manager Blaine Brown gave him a few days off to get things sorted out. "My last three starts have been rough," McGrady said. "I got a week off in between starts and my bullpen sessions have been great. I felt really comfortable out there tonight." Rebels shortstop Chris Beck provided the majority of the offense for New Market, who pounded out 10 hits against Turks’ starting pitcher Tim Wheeler. Beck, a junior from UNC-Pembroke, tripled home a pair of runs in the sixth inning that turned out to be the game-winners. Beck had been struggling with a calf injury and was making his first return to the lineup in two weeks. "That was huge," Brown said. "It was good to get production from the number nine spot." Harrisonburg scored its lone run in the ninth inning when Evan LeBlanc walked with the bases loaded. The next hitter, Josh Richardson, came to the plate with a chance to bring home the game-winning runs, but the Indiana junior struck out on a high fastball to end the game. "We’re just unlucky," Wease said. "We had nine line drives. We hit the ball hard, but just could not get a run." New Market 001 003 000 – 4 10 2 Harrisonburg 000 000 001 – 1 5 1 McGrady, Caldwell (9), Dickson (9) and Westman; Wheeler, Morales (9) and Denker. WP – McGrady (2-1). LP – Wheeler (1-2). S – Dickson (8).