Turks Remain On Top of VBL

6/22/2007 – Daily News Record

Harrisonburg Crushes Winchester, 9-0 Written By Mike Barber Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – In a matchup of the top two teams in the Valley Baseball League, only one lived up to its billing. First-place Harrisonburg scored nine runs on seven hits and five Winchester errors to down the second-place Royals 9-0 on Thursday at Memorial Stadium. "Harrisonburg is the best team in the league by far," Winchester manager John Lowery Jr. said. "They might be able to start printing the banner up for the title. We might be second, but we’re not close to them." Playing in front of a crowd that Turks’ owner/manager Bob Wease estimated was near 1,000 before rain chased many of the fans away, Harrisonburg got five shutout innings from starter Jim Kennedy (Rider) and another four scoreless frames from reliever Ian Reinhart (Southern Illinois). "I think my boys are really playing quite well," said Wease, in his sixth season on the bench. "I think we’ve got the best ball club since I’ve been coaching it." Waynesboro, with a 6-3 win over Haymarket on Thursday night, moved past Winchester and into second. The Turks (11-3) came into the night 1½ games up on Winchester and carrying a league-best 1.73 ERA. Kennedy gave up two hits, while striking out two and walking one in five innings to improve to 3-0 on the year. "I didn’t have my best stuff," Kennedy said. "It ended up being pretty effective, I guess." Reinhart came and was even better, surrendering just one hit and no walks while striking out four in four innings to earn his first save of the year. Wease credited first-year pitching coach Mike Ransom with the team’s early success on the mound. "I can’t say enough nice things about my pitching coach," Wease said. "I recruited the players, but he’s putting them on the field where they need to be." That pitching, coupled with the Royals’ stunningly shoddy defense, made for a one-sided affair. Only three of the runs Winchester (8-5) allowed were earned. Winchester starter Scott Shuman (Auburn) was a hard-luck loser, giving up three runs – only one of which was earned –in five innings to fall to 0-2. He struck out six and walked five. First baseman David Dennis (Oklahoma City) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Harrisonburg. With ominous dark clouds threatening to bring rain that could wash away the game, the Turks scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning on a pair of Winchester errors. The Royals’ night in the field didn’t improve after the skies cleared. In the sixth, Harrisonburg tacked on another two runs, one of which scored when Winchester center fielder Jake Swint’s errant throw went over the head of the pitcher, caromed of the lip where the mound met the grass and kicked out into foul territory. The Turks turned it into a laugher, plating five runs in the eighth inning – an inning in which Wease said he was trying to call off the dogs, choosing not to bunt over the runners after the first two hitters reached base. "I thought the game was out of hand, to be honest with you, 4-0," Wease said. "I didn’t want to rub it in their face. I just let the guys hit. We get a base hit and hit a batsman and the next thing you know, we score five." Instead, Alex Lyons’ bases-loaded single resulted in three runs scoring when a throw to third sailed high over the third baseman’s head. The next hitter, Travis Peep, hit a slow grounder that he beat out for an infield single. On the play, shortstop Patrick Wingfield’s throw bounced away from the first baseman, scoring a fourth run. The fifth run of the frame came in after a passed ball. Winchester 000 000 000 – 0 3 5 Harrisonburg 000 202 05x – 9 7 1 Shuman, Carls, Simons, Smith and Barkdoll, Olson (7); Kennedy, Reinhart (6) and Pericht. W- Kennedy (3-0). L- Shuman (0-2). S- Reinhart (1).