Stewart Comes Through

7/06/2007 – Daily News Record

Helps Turks To 6-4 Win Over Luray Written By Matthew Stoss LURAY – The batting stance is delicate. A small tweak can yield line drives and opulent averages. Another can lead to increased familiarity with frustration and the bench. Brett Stewart can attest. The Harrisonburg Turks’ third baseman said he modified his stance early in the season and it only went to ruin a good thing. "He started the year on fire," Turks manager Bob Wease said. "Then, the last five or six games, he went in the tank. But I had a feeling he would come out of it tonight – and he did. "He did great at the plate tonight." Stewart, who returned to a more open stance recently, went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a two-run home run to lead Harrisonburg over the Luray Wranglers, 6-4, in a Valley League Baseball game on Thursday night. "Ten games into the season, I started tinkering with my stance," said Stewart, a junior from Appalachian State. "It didn’t work out and I went back to my old stance." Stewart, whom Wease praised for his good attitude and work ethic, gave Harrisonburg (17-7) some breathing room in the top of the fifth inning when he deposited his first homer of the season over the advertisement-draped left-center field wall. "It was an 0-2 curveball and he just floated it," said Stewart, who raised his average from .191 to .258 on Thursday. The two-run shot extended the Turks’ lead from 4-3 to 6-3. Luray (17-10) scored its runs on a three-run homer by Alec Lowery off Harrisonburg starter Chris Chapman in the bottom of the third. Stewart drove in two in the top of that inning with a single. "He’s a great kid," Wease said. "He just comes out and does his job – and he did that tonight." Harrisonburg took a 1-0 lead early when it loaded the bases in the first inning and scored on an RBI single from B.J. Wheeler (Clarendon). After Stewart’s two-run single in the third, Jon Moore (Purdue) drove in one more to extend the Turks’ lead to 4-3. The Wranglers’ only other offense came from Ryan Mollica, who belted a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the sixth. After that inning, Luray failed to produce another base runner. It came close in the eighth when Turner Ashby graduate Justin Miller tried to stretch a single into a double, but Wheeler threw him out on a frozen rope from the left-field corner. Harrisonburg 103 020 000 – 6 11 2 Luray 003 001 000 – 4 5 2 Chapman, Ellison (5), Parker (9) and Franco, Pericht; Gilliam, Gutierrez (6), Cain (8), Shelton (8), Jordat (9) and Miller. HR – H: Stewart (1). L: Lowrey (1), Mollica (1).