Turks Black Out Woodstock

7/11/2007 – Daily News Record

After Delay, Harrisonburg Wins Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record WOODSTOCK – David Dennis saw the lights start to flicker back on high above right field and made a declaration. "This is when stuff starts to happen," the Harrisonburg Turks first baseman said as he headed down the right field line toward home. The statement was premature. At that point, the light problems that forced a 90-minute delay in Tuesday’s game weren’t completely resolved. But once the Turks finally did get back on the field, and both teams were forced to change pitchers, things did start happening. In the top of the fifth inning, the first after play resumed, the Turks scored three runs against the Woodstock bullpen to break open a scoreless contest and cruise to a 3-0 victory in the Valley League baseball game. Left fielder Robert Taylor (Arkansas-Little Rock), third baseman Brett Stewart (Appalachian State) and catcher Andrew Franco (Appalachian State) each drove in runs in the inning and left-hander Chris Chapman breezed through five innings of relief to give the Turks (20-8) the win. Both team’s starters were mowing down hitters in the first four innings of the game. Harrisonburg right-hander Ryan Ellison (Troy) allowed two singles in four shutout innings while striking out seven, including the last six hitters he faced. With a running fastball moving inside to right-handers and a wicked 12-to-6 curveball, Ellison needed just 58 pitches to cut through the River Bandits’ order. Woodstock right-hander Eric Bua (Florida Tech) had a little more trouble. While Woodstock (15-13) didn’t get a runner past first base on Ellison, Harrisonburg had runners in scoring position every inning against Bua. Still, he managed to work through it, as the Turks stranded six runners in the first four innings, four of them in scoring position. The teams were playing with spotty lighting until that point. The bank of lights in left center field was completely out, as were several individual lights on each of the rest of the banks. In the top of the fifth, the umpires decided that enough darkness had set in to make play dangerous, and stopped play. Ballpark officials called Dominion Virginia Power for a truck to get the faulty lights turned on. It took the truck just under an hour to arrive, however, and the Turks and River Bandits spent the delay fraternizing and playing various improvised games. The Turks at one point formed a cheerleader pyramid, and manager Bob Wease pinned catcher Mike Pericht with a wrestling move. Once the truck showed up and workers flicked on a few lights, it still took another 10 minutes to get the lights working. The teams needed a short warm up, and by the time play began again, more than 90 minutes had passed. The Turks got going immediately against Woodstock reliever Luke Stahl, however, with second baseman Travis Peep drawing a leadoff walk and shortstop Ryan Wood following with another walk. Taylor followed with a deep fly to center field, which, ironically, Woodstock center fielder Matt Mansilla lost in the lights. It fell in for a double, and Peep came around to score. After Stahl struck out Dennis, Woodstock replaced him with right-hander Ryan Schmidt, who was immediately greeted with a line-drive single by Stewart to score Wood. Franco followed by inside outing a fastball to left to score Taylor, and the Turks had all the runs they would need. Though Chapman got a late start, Woodstock barely touched him. He allowed singles in the fifth and seventh and hit a batter in the ninth, but no one else reached base. The compact left-hander struck out four batters, including two in the ninth, and breezed through five innings with just 52 pitches. Harrisonburg 000 030 000 – 3 10 0 Woodstock 000 000 000 – 0 4 2 Ellison, Chapman (5) and Franco; Bua, Stahl (5), Schmidt (5), Kahn (7) and Villa. W-Chapman (3-1). L – Stahl (1-3). HRs – none.