1/16/2008 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Graham Brock Sports Management Intern James Madison University The Harrisonburg Turks are looking very strong in the upcoming season. With seven returning players the Turks will be looking to win the Valley League, in which they finished in a strong second place in the 2007 season. Manager Bob Wease lead the Turks to a 28-18 record an also managed the Southern Division All Star team. The pitching staff for the Turks looks to be impressive with five returning players. Junior RHP Garret Parker, a returning closer, looks to continue his excellent season last year as he earned the Turks Jon Rauch Fireman Award, had 8 saves and a 2-1 record. He also had 28 strikeouts on his way to making the 2007 All Star team. Parker pitched in 21 1/3 innings while the first 18 1/3 of those innings he shut down his opponent not giving up a single run. He did not give up his first run until late in the season. Parker transferred from Howard College to NAIA powerhouse, Oklahoma City U. this fall and will be making his mark there. Also boosting the pitching staff will be starter, Tim Wheeler, a junior from Troy University returning for his third season with the Turks. Wheeler posted an impressive 1.76 ERA and 48 strikeouts and made the VBL All Star Team, he will be a major contributor to the pitching staff. He finished third in the league in ERA and ninth in opponent batting average. In Tim’s four losses he only had 5 runs total of run support. Tim also had an outstanding walk per nine percentage and strike out just under a batter an inning. Lefty Chris Chapman was very impressive last season going 4-1 with 32 strikeouts and a 2.29 ERA. He will be a great asset to have on the team. Chapman transferred from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to Bethune Cookman University. Jim Kennedy of Rider University won the Turks Player of the Week Award during week 2 of the 2007 season. He had a record of 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 21 strikeouts. Right-handed relief pitcher Chase Sonen of St. Joseph’s College rounds out the returning pitchers. He had 18 strikeouts last season, to go along with a 2.65 ERA. The pitching staff is looking very strong heading into the season with these five returning to the Turks. Other players returning to the Turks include catcher Mike Pericht, a sophomore from St. Joseph’s College where he started in 33 of the 35 games in the 2007 season. He was also impressive with the Turks batting a strong .245 with 4 homeruns and driving in 19 runs. Pericht will definitely be a player to watch in 2008. Rounding out the returning players is junior, Brett Stewart from Appalachian State. Stewart was a force down the stretch last season driving in 21 runs and hitting 3 homeruns while having a .277 batting average. He grabbed Weeks 6 and 8 Turks Player of the Week Awards. The Turks look forward to having the leadership of these seven returning players to help guide the 2008 team to a VBL Championship.