Turks Blow Lead

06/30/2008 – Daily News Record

Written By Tim Chapman Daily News Record Staunton Wins, 4-3 HARRISONBURG – Eric Thomas felt like he had his "best stuff" Sunday night. Unfortunately for the Harrisonburg pitcher, his best stuff on the mound couldn’t bail him out of some Harrisonburg’s worst stuff in the field as the Turks fell 4-3 to Staunton. In the seventh inning Thomas had two outs with a man on second when he gave up a single – and then some – to the Braves’ Bryon Izzo. The throw home from center fielder Chris Murphy rocketed over catcher Wilsisky Baez’s head, allowing Blake McDade to score easily. Thomas then tried to throw Izzo out at second, but also launched the ball over his target. Izzo scored on the second throwing error of the play and Staunton (11-13) took the final lead. Izzo’s hit was scored a single. "We haven’t had a break," Staunton coach Lance Mauck said, "and I’m telling ya, that’s probably our first break in two and a half weeks." It looked like it was going to be another night without a break for the Braves when starting pitcher Shawn Kale gave up a three-run home run in the first inning to Harrisonburg designated hitter Michael Precise. The Troy University junior drove the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence, giving Thomas early run-support. But the Turks (8-15) would get only two more hits the rest of the game. "We had the ball game in hand," Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease said. "We came out the first inning and scored three runs and then we went to sleep." The Braves scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings, when base runners advanced on an error in each frame, to get within one run. Thomas pitched well before the seventh inning disaster. He gave up 11 hits and three earned runs to go along with four strikeouts. "I just didn’t come through at the end and that’s what matters," Thomas said. "[Their pitchers] did a pretty good job. They gave ’em a chance to win and that’s what you gotta do as a pitcher." Staunton needed six pitchers to pull out the win as Kale lasted only two innings. "He didn’t have nothing on his ball," Mauck said of Kale. "He had a little tender arm, but he wanted to try and pitch and he just had no velocity tonight." After giving up the home run, Kale was able to retire the side in the second. Reliever Justin Dignelli went the next three innings retiring 10 batters with just one hit and six strikeouts. The Braves used four pitchers over the last four innings. Craig Gillet picked up the win and Josh Squatrito earned the save. Staunton 000 110 200 4 12 0 Harrisonburg 300 000 000 3 5 4 Kale, Dignelli (3), Gillet (6), Lucas (7), Feguson (8), Squatrito (9) and Stifler; Thomas, Bartleski (8) and Baez, Tutwiler (7). W- Gillet, L- Thomas. HR- Precise.