Turks Can Thank Bro

07/06/2010 – Daily News Record

By Marcus Helton Daily News Record

HARRISONBURG – Chris Sorce’s stay with the Harrisonburg Turks a year ago lasted just 12 games before he left to sign a professional contract with the Seattle Mariners. The former Troy University pitcher helped make a sizeable contribution to the current Harrisonburg roster, though.

Sorce’s younger brother Ryan – also a pitcher – played last season for the Fauquier Gators, who folded in the fall after just three seasons in the Valley Baseball League. The younger Sorce (pronounced sor-see) was still looking for a team when Turks owner/manager Bob Wease got in touch with him, and a positive review from Chris convinced him to spend this summer in Harrisonburg.

“I heard nothing but good things about Bob and how the team works,” Ryan Sorce said Monday. “I think it helps out a lot, because he let me know a little about the city – like what to look forward to and stuff, what to do. So, I kind of knew beforehand what I was getting myself into.”

So far, the younger Sorce’s decision has paid off for the Turks, who have fallen out of first place but are still in the hunt for the pennant with just under a month left in the regular season.

In 22 innings, Sorce has struck out 16 batters, walked just two and posted a 1.23 earned run average. Relying mainly on a fastball that tops out in the low 90 mph range, he’s allowed four runs, and opponents are hitting just .203 against him. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound left-hander has appeared in six games with two starts, but has yet to get a decision.

“I think [Chris] throws a little harder than Ryan,” Wease said, “but Ryan throws strikes and he’s got a great curveball. You can expect Ryan to get drafted next year, too. He throws awful hard, too, for a left-hander.”

If Ryan Sorce’s career path continues to mirror his brother’s as it has, then a pro career may indeed be in the cards. Chris Sorce, 22, attended Louisiana State and Pensacola Junior College before going to Troy; the 20-year-old Ryan played at West Florida and Pensacola J.C. and will head to Troy in the fall.

Baseball was always big in the Sorce family, Ryan said, mentioning that his father and uncle both played college baseball. Chris and Ryan Sorce each had standout prep careers, leading Pace High School to the Florida Class 5A state championship in 2006 when Chris was a senior and Ryan a sophomore.

“I was No. 1 [pitcher] and he was No. 2,” Chris Sorce said by phone from Everett, Wash, where he’s playing for the Mariners’ Class A affiliate. “It was actually pretty awesome.”

The two never got a chance to face each other in the Valley League, though, because Ryan pulled a muscle in his left forearm early last season and went back to Florida to rehabilitate it.

Chris Sorce went on to have an effective season for the Turks, going 4-0 with three saves and a 0.98 ERA in 18 1/3 innings before leaving for the pros. Although he’s more than 2,000 miles away this summer, he’s still managed – in a way – to give the Turks a bit of a boost.

“[Ryan] heard me talking about it and he knew I enjoyed it,” he said, “and then decided that he wanted to be a Turk himself. And I guess he’d been to Harrisonburg a couple of times and knew Harrisonburg is one of the better cities to play in. Who wouldn’t want to play in one of the better cities, you know?”