Dennis Lifts Turks

6/15/2007 – Daily News Record

Dennis Sparks Turks Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record STAUNTON — To hear Bob Wease tell the story, you’d think he got David Dennis mixed up with Kirk Gibson. Dennis, the Harrisonburg Turks’ first baseman from Oklahoma City University, was on the bench Thursday night because of a minor knee injury suffered in batting practice, Wease said. And through the first seven innings, he couldn’t do much for his squad but cheer. But in the eighth, Wease used the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder to pinch hit, and Dennis came through. With the score tied 6-6 and the bases loaded with one out, Dennis — whose nickname is "Moose" — singled to left to score two runners, giving the Turks the lead en route to a 10-6 win over the Staunton Braves in a Valley League Baseball game in front of 587 fans at John Moxie Stadium. "I went to Moose, and of course, he came through for us," Wease said. "He gave us the spark we needed tonight." The Turks (7-2) were down 6-5 going into the inning, but Redlands Community College right fielder Sammy Lee led off the inning with a single. And after a flyout, Purdue center fielder Jon Moore was hit by a pitch and Carlendon left fielder B.J. Wheeler walked. Designated hitter Mike Pericht then tied the game by dinking a slow grounder to third base. Staunton’s Zach Barrett bobbled the ball, allowing Lee to score the tying run. "I got jammed a little bit, just trying to get the runners in," Pericht said. "I just dinked it enough to get the runners across." After that play, Staunton manager Lance Mauck took out left-hander Robbie Conver for righty Matt Goodyear. Harrisonburg first baseman Brett Stewart (Appalachian State) was in the on-deck circle, but Wease removed him to give Dennis, a left-hander from Oklahoma City University, a chance to put the Turks ahead in his first at-bat. "He told me to be ready for that," Dennis said. "They put in the righty and told me I was in. I was ready." Indeed he was. After starting Dennis off with two balls, Goodyear threw a fastball out over the plate and Dennis took it the other way, squeezing it in between Barrett and Staunton shortstop Adam Carpenter to score Moore and Wheeler. "I was kind of struggling the last three games," Dennis said. "…It felt good to finally get out of that and help the team out. I felt like I was kind of dragging us down a little bit." The Turks scored two more runs in the inning, the first when catcher John Murphy walked with the bases loaded and the second when Lee was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Howard right-hander Garrett Parker shut the Braves (4-6) down in the last two innings to get the win. The victory could be a big one for the Turks because of the way it happened. They took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring runs on RBI singles by Wheeler and Pericht and an RBI double by Stewart. But the Braves took the lead with four runs in the sixth, including a three-run homer by designated hitter Joshua Clendenin. The Turks got two runs in the seventh to tie it at 5-5, and scored those five in the eighth after the Braves had taken a 6-5 lead in the seventh. "It’s always good to win these games because you show some character," Dennis said. "… We came back and they came back. It was a great game for both teams, and it says a lot for us to come out with that one." Harrisonb 300 000 250 — 10 12 2 Staunton 001 004 100 – 6 8 3 Klumpp, Reinhart (6), Parker (7) and Murphy; Truxell, Thompson (6), Housey (6), Conver (7), Goodyear (8), Dillow (9) and Burns. W-Parker (1-0). L-Conver (0-1) HR-S-Clendenin