‘Clown’ Keeps Turks Loose

07/22/2008 – Daily News Record

Written By Tim Chapman Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – For being the "team clown," Harrisonburg pitcher Chris Chapman looks quite focused when he’s handed the ball. Before the Turks’ game with Fauquier was postponed Sunday, due to a burned-out light fixture, Chapman had retired the first six Gator batters in just 18 pitches. But in a season where rain delays and postponements have become old hat for the Turks, the Chesapeake native’s quick start came to a quick end. He resumed his outing Monday to lead Harrisonburg to a 4-3 win. Chapman didn’t hang his head in frustration though, he simply went into the Memorial Stadium stands to joke around and hang out with young fans. "He is the team clown, that’s for sure," Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease said. "I think he can be a clown in the right situation. I guess he’s the kind of guy that clowns around a lot, but once he gets on the mound he’s pretty serious." When not on the mound, Chapman has been the player to keep the Turks (15-23) loose in an up-and-down season that has them fighting for one of the final two Valley League playoff spots. In his second summer with Harrisonburg, Chapman started the 2008 campaign late because he was taking summer courses at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Since joining the team, he is 3-1 and had a 3.32 ERA going into Monday’s game. While his pitching has been consistent, it’s his flirtatious and quirky personality that teammates and coaches identify him by. "I call him effectively wild," Turks’ pitcher Chase Sonen said. "But he gets the job done… Eric [Thomas] said it perfect the one day we were talking about him. He pitches exactly the way he acts. He’s kind of out there, off the wall, but he’s the kind of guy every team needs." Chapman said he likes the summer baseball atmosphere better than college because it allows him to be himself. "I’m like that a lot at school," Chapman said. "Sometimes I get in trouble for it, because I’m really, really goofy and coaches don’t like it. But every team has to have a goofy kid and I like being that guy."