Late-Starting Turks Lose

06/22/2009 – Daily News Record

Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – Bob Wease likes the way his team plays when it has a sense of urgency. He’d just prefer it kick in before the eighth inning to avoid situations like the one that occurred Sunday against Haymarket. The Turks started the Valley League game shakily but continued their trend of strong finishes by scoring three of their five runs in the last two innings. One problem: by the time they got those runs, they already trailed 6-2, thanks in large part to four errors, and Haymarket beat Harrisonburg 7-5 on a warm – and dry – afternoon at Long Field. "We just don’t play good for seven innings," Wease said. "And it seems like the eighth and ninth inning we turn it on. I can’t get a handle for it. It’s been like that in every loss." Said catcher Parker Brunelle, a rising junior at Florida State: "So far, that’s the statement of our season. I don’t know what it is, to be honest with you." Ten of the 20 runs Harrisonburg (6-5) has scored in the last three games have come in the eighth and ninth innings. Sunday, the Senators (4-3) got on the board early, with left fielder Peter Onorato (Massachusetts-Lowell) and catcher Jim Vahalik (Toledo) singling to start the second. Onorato moved to third when right fielder Lee Murray grounded into a force play at second base, then scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Scott Van Dusseldorp (Shenandoah). From that point on, the Turks started gift-wrapping runs. Haymarket shortstop Zeth Stone (Elon) hit a bouncer to short that could have ended the inning, but Harrisonburg shortstop Victor Croglio (Richmond) threw wide of first base, allowing Murray to score. The next batter, center fielder Andrew Lawrence (Boston College), crushed an 0-1 fastball from Harrisonburg’s Aaron Luchterhand (Redlands) over the right-center field wall for a two-run homer, giving Haymarket a 4-0 lead. "The first pitch of that at-bat was a fastball down and in," Lawrence said. "I fouled it off, and I just used that pitch to get my timing. I was a little bit late on it. He threw the next pitch in pretty much the same spot. It was a fastball down and in. I just kind of got the head out on it and it kinda just jumped off the bat." Harrisonburg answered in the second when third baseman Jack Posey (Florida State) scored on a wild pitch, but Haymarket scored two more in the third. The Turks scored another run in the third on an RBI groundout by Posey, but Haymarket left-hander Grant Sasser (North Carolina State) came in for starter Matt Benedict (Western Carolina) and allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings. As is its custom, Harrisonburg came alive in the eighth, loading the bases with no one out and scoring when catcher Evan Stehle (Richmond) was hit by a pitch and shortstop Garrett May (East Tennessee State) drew a walk. The Turks failed to capitalize further, however. "The first seven innings we don’t score any runs," center field Ryan Eden of the University of New Orleans said. "I guess we don’t think we’re going to lose until we see we’re down in the seventh inning and we gotta pick it up." Harrisonburg had won three in a row before Sunday. Haymarket 042 000 001 – 7 11 0 Harrisonburg 011 000 021 – 5 7 4 Benedict, Sasser (4), Van Woert (8), Andrews (8) and Vahalik; Luctherhand, Lancara (7), Nichols (9) and Brunelle, Stehle. W-Sasser (1-0). L-Luchterhand (1-1). S-Andrews (3). HR-HAY: Lawrence (2).