06/18/2010 – Turks Tidbits

TURKS Come From Behind to Beat Rapids 5-3, Luchterhand Has Complete Game

Thomas Cornwell Boston College Intern

Harrisonburg—For five innings Friday night the Rockbridge Rapids (5-7) put together a Class Five performance as the waters at Eagle Field provided rough rafting for the Harrisonburg TURKS (7-5) as they had a mere one hit on a Reuben Sosa (Western Oklahoma) infield single in the bottom of the first inning. The TURKS offensive woes allowed the Rapids to built a 3-0 lead. The final four frames, however, saw the waters calm as the TURKS scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including the walked-in decisive fourth run, to secure the win and send the Rapids back down Interstate 81 wondering what might have been.

After a quiet first inning for both sides, the Rapids struck in the top of the second inning. With one out, Rapids shortstop Robert Skinner (Lander) had infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch during Tyler Hill’s (USC-Sumter) at-bat. TURKS pitcher Aaron Luchterhand (Redlands C.C.) then walked Hill later in the at-bat. Following a double steal by Skinner and Hill to give Rockbridge runners at second and third with two outs, left-fielder, Andrew Siano (Hartford) singled up the middle, scoring Skinner and Hill, giving the Rapids the 2-0 lead. Siano was able to advance to second on Reuben Sosa’s throw home. The catcher, Jake Mendiola (Texas A&M-Kingsville) then singled, plating Siano from second and stretching the Rockbridge lead to 3-0. The next three – and-half innings saw little in the way of momentum for either side as the teams combined for no hits and only four base runners.

The bottom of the sixth inning brought about the awakening of the TURKS bats, started with a Brett Armour (Young Harris) lead-off infield single. Second baseman Joe Huber (St. Joseph’s, IN) followed Armour’s single with one of his own, giving the TURKS first and second with no outs. An interesting series of events followed, allowing the TURKS to put their first runs on the board. Reuben Sosa bunted towards Rapids pitcher Chris Griener (Hartford). Griener’s attempt to throw out Sosa at first turned into a nightmare for the Rapids as the throw went awry, allowing Armour and Huber to score on the error and Sosa to advance to third. The TURKS tied the game at three on their very next at-bat when Terrance Jackson (Oklahoma City) singled to left field, scoring Sosa from third. The seventh inning was quiet, setting the stage for the TURKS half of the eighth inning.

Once again, Brett Armour ignited the offense with a single to left field to lead-off the inning. Joshua Band (Rollins) then came in to pinch run for Armour. Reuben Sosa doubled down the right field line following a Joe Huber pop out, giving the TURKS second and third with one out. Rockbridge skipper Greg Keaton elected to intentionally walk Terrance Jackson to load the bases, which proved to be costly. Georgia Tech’s Connor Winn was then walked by Rapids pitcher Marcus Broadwater, walking in Band from third, giving the TURKS their first lead of the night at 4-3, a lead they would not relinquish. Bobby Brown (Arizona), returning to the TUKRS for the second season, then skied a sacrifice fly to center, allowing the speedy Sosa to tag up and score from third, provided the TURKS with the ever important insurance run. The insurance run was not necessary, however, as Luchterhand returned to the mound in the top of the ninth inning to secure the 5-3 win for the TURKS.

In a game that seemed grim for a while, the impressive speed of Reuben Sosa, resilience of Aaron Luchterhand, and patience of Connor Winn proved to be the difference in the come from behind win, showing the continued growth of the TURKS players as the season progresses. With a little luck and the same amount of speed, desire, resilience, and patience displayed by the TURKS tonight, this Valley League Season could be a special one in Harrisonburg.

The TURKS return to action tomorrow night at Eagle Field when they face the Staunton Braves at 7:30pm. Prior to the game, the TURKS will hold a Meet the TURKS Night, giving fans the opportunity to meet and get autographs from the 2010 TURKS from 6:15-6:45pm. Tomorrow night is also United Way Appreciation Night.