Sloppy Turks Fall Again

07/10/2008 – Daily News Record

Braves Handle Harrisonburg, 7-4 Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record STAUNTON – Only in a game like this could a meaningless RBI single in the ninth inning seem like a sympathetic form of justice. Because if not for catcher Mike Pericht’s two-out hit, Harrisonburg Turks owner/manager Bob Wease would have had to watch his team load the bases with no one out and fail to score twice on top of all the other misfortune he had to endure Tuesday night. Of course, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Turks to win a game in which they stranded 15 men, allowed two runs to score on delayed double steals and watched a ground ball back to the pitcher turn into two runs. All of that resulted in a 7-4 win for the Staunton Braves in a Valley Baseball League game at Moxie Stadium. "You can’t win a ball game leaving 15 guys on base," said Wease, whose Turks lost their third straight game to fall to 9-18. "We should’ve broken this game open in the second or third inning." Said Staunton manager Lance Mauck: "I think we snuck away with a win here. … We got runs without hitting a baseball, and we got outs without throwing a pitch." Indeed, but the Braves had to escape their first major jam by throwing a lot of pitches. The game was tied 1-1 after Harrisonburg center fielder Chris Murphy hit a solo home run in the first and Staunton first baseman Blake McDade tied it with an RBI double in the bottom half of the inning. In the fourth, the Turks opened the inning with singles by first baseman Michael Precise and left fielder B.J. Wheeler. Precise was on third when designated hitter Brett Stewart got another bloop single, but had to hold because the ball was too shallow. That still left the Turks with the bases loaded and no one out, but Staunton left-hander Lance Baxter struck out third baseman Landon Camp, Pericht and second baseman Daniel Heatwole to end the inning. "I was just trying to keep the ball in the infield," Baxter said. "We got lucky and struck everyone out." In the bottom half of the inning, the Braves got a solo homer from McDade to make it 2-1. The Turks tied it with an RBI double by Precise (Troy) – who was 4-for-5 with two RBIs – in the top of the fifth, but the Braves took advantage of more Harrisonburg misfortune in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Staunton third baseman Stephen Branca hit a grounder back at Harrisonburg pitcher Garrett Parker that hit the right-hander in the back of the leg. Parker picked it up and threw well wide of the bag, putting runners on first and third. On the first pitch to the next batter, Branca faked a steal and Pericht threw to shortstop Mark Brooks, hoping catcher Brad Hammac would break for home and get caught stealing. Instead, Brooks tried to get Branca in a rundown, which allowed Hammac to break for the plate and score in front of the throw. After an RBI single by shortstop Donovan Hatter, the Braves were up 4-2. Harrisonburg scored another run in the seventh, but the Braves answered with three more in the bottom of the inning. After a single by left fielder Matt Browning, they got back-to-back bunts to fall for base hits. Hatter and McDade each had RBI singles, and the Braves scored another run on a first-and-third double steal at the end of the inning. The Turks plated another run in the ninth, loading the bases with no one out, again, but Stewart and Camp struck out before Pericht’s single. Heatwole struck out again to end the game.