Turks Stave Off Elimination

7/28/2006 – Daily News Record

Daily News Record Written By Jeremy Cothran Harrisonburg Goes On The Road, Beats Covington 7-5 COVINGTON – The grave was dug, the coffin was ready. The only thing that Covington forgot to provide was the actual funeral. Clint Robinson punched a two-run, opposite-field home run to cap a 2-for-5 night and lead the Harrisonburg Turks to a 7-5 victory over the Lumberjacks on Thursday night at Casey Field. The win tied the best-of-three Valley League playoff series at 1-1 and forced an elimination game today at Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. With the summer nearly over, Turks manager Bob Wease questioned on Thursday whether or not some of his players were looking forward to packing their bags. In the first inning, it sure looked that way. Covington, which has knocked the Turks out of the playoffs four times in the last five years, shot out to a 2-0 lead. Right fielder Bo Davis (1-for-4) hit an RBI triple off of Turks’ starting pitcher Justin Wood and then left fielder Jason Kipnis followed with a double, scoring Davis. Wood quickly settled down after the inning to pick up his fourth win of the summer, as the rising James Madison University left-hander began to find the strike zone with his curve ball and his slider, inducing 10 fly ball outs from Lumberjack hitters. The Turks answered with four runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of struggling Covington starter Nick Utley. The Lee University right-hander didn’t look in sync with his catcher, Andrew Spitzfaden, and surrendered five hits in the frame, highlighted by a two-run double by second baseman Josh Richardson. Designated hitter Gary Martoccio followed with an RBI double of his own and shortstop Bobby Spain added an RBI single. Covington responded with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth before Robinson’s blast stretched the lead to 6-3. It was the fifth home run of the year for the slumping Troy first baseman, who had entered the game with a .252 batting average. The Lumberjacks pushed another unearned run in the bottom of the eighth, this time on an error by left fielder Evan LeBlanc – who was hit on the wrist by a fastball in the top of the seventh as was in obvious pain afterwards – which scored Covington shortstop Adam Gordon. Harrisonburg added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, and reliever Danny Wells pitched 2 2/3 innings to collect his third save – though not without some drama. Back-to-back hits by Davis and Rebel Ridling cut the Turks’ lead to 7-5, but Wells settled down and struck out designated hitter Eddie Hargrove and got Gordon to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice. Harrisonburg 000 402 001 – 7 13 4 Covington 200 010 011 – 5 9 1 Wood, Wells (7) and Harrigan; Utley, Francis (4), Burge (7), Bowen (8) and Spitzfaden, Mercado (7). WP – Wood (4-2). LP – Utley (3-2). S – Wells. HR – H: Robinson (5).