A Rollercoaster Night

8/2/2010 – Turks Tidbits

TURKS Split Doubleheader with Generals, Finish Regular Season at .500

By Thomas Cornwell Boston College Intern

Harrisonburg, VA—The TURKS entered the final night of the regular season facing a double header against Waynesboro and the possibility of earning the fourth seed in the upcoming Valley Baseball League Playoffs, if things fell their way. In order for the TURKS to garner the fourth seed they needed win both games against the Generals and have Front Royal to lose to Haymarket. For a majority of the night it seemed as though the TURKS would have that opportunity as they downed the Generals 1-0 in game one and held a 4-1 lead midway through the night cap, seemingly setting the stage for some late-night scoreboard of the Cardinals/Senators matchup. At that point however, TURKS mistakes and shaky pitching became the order of the evening, as has been the case all too often this season. The Generals went on to plate seven run in the bottom of the fourth inning en route to an 8-4 victory. As a result, both teams finish the regular season at 22-22 with the Generals claiming the fifth seed over the Harrisonburg by virtue of their 3-2 record against the TURKS.

Game one of the twin bill was a nail biter from start to finish as each team came up with great defensive plays to keep the opposing offenses off the scoreboard, making every pitch meaningful. The Generals were the first to threaten, loading the bases with one out in the top of the second inning, but were unable to plate a run, keeping the game scoreless through two-and-a-half.

In the bottom of the third the TURKS broke through, scoring the only run of the game. Caleb Bowen (Auburn) led-off the inning with a single to left field. Designated hitter Matt Wease (Mary Washington) followed with a single, advancing Bowen to second. Following a Joe Huber (St. Joe’s, IN) fly out, Connor Winn (Georgia Tech) singled to load the bases with one out. After Shaun Cooper (Pima C.C.) fouled out, Bobby Brown (Arizona) stepped to the plate, singling to left field, plating Bowen from third to give the TURKS the only run they would need to secure the victory.

The Generals would threaten the slim lead in the top of the sixth inning, but J.J. Loker (USC-Aiken) connected with Caleb Bowen to throw out Grant Fillipitch (Butler) at home, preserving the 1-0 win for Harrisonburg while positioning them for a possible run at the fourth seed if things fell their way in Game 2 and in Haymarket.

The nightcap with the Generals began about as well as the TURKS could have hoped, but ended as a nightmare the TURKS wished they could forget. J.J. Loker led-off the game (as the TURKS were the visitors on the scoreboard due to the make up being a game that was scheduled to by played in Waynesboro) by doubling to right-center field. Connor Winn followed with a infield single, advancing Loker to third, bringing Shaun Cooper to the plate. Cooper then singled to left, scoring Loker from third, giving the TURKS a quick 1-0 lead. Bobby Brown then walked to load the bases with no outs. A Scott Dalrymple (Oklahoma City) sacrifice fly down the left field line allowed Winn to score from second, building the lead to 2-0 in favor of Harrisonburg. Austin Erb (Ashland) followed by grounding out, but Shaun Cooper was able to score from third an increasing the TURKS total to three.

The Generals began clawing back in the bottom of the first when John Clinard (Austin Peay) scored on a throwing error by TURKS catcher Brett Armour (Young Harris) in his attempt to throw out Clinard in a rundown between third and home.

In a regular season that saw the TURK fall from first-place nearly a month ago to a sixth-place finish at season’s end, fittingly the final night of the regular season displayed the highest of highs and lowest of lows for the Harrisonburg TURKS, serving as a microcosm for what has been nothing short of a rollercoaster 44 games for the Red and Blue and their fans. Scott Dalrymple prevented Waynesboro from plating another run on the very next at bat when he threw out Generals pitcher Andrew Turocy (Akron) at home, maintaining the 3-1 lead for Harrisonburg.

The TURKS regained a three run margin in the top of the third inning when Bobby Brown singled to score Connor Winn from second. The 4-1 score stood until the bottom of the fourth inning, from there the nightmare began. The Generals led off the inning with a single and a double, plating a run on a single from by Tim Leather. Emilio Pagan (Gardner-Webb) then took the mound for the TURKS in relief of Joseph Hollowell (Yavapai C.C.). Other than an initial strikeout, Pagan was unable to keep the Waynesboro barrage at bay. A single by Terrell Thompson (Patrick Henry) plated another Waynesboro run, trimming the TURKS lead to 4-3. Colin Harrington (Virginia) followed by singling to left-center on fly ball that dropped between the TURKS second baseman, right fielder, and centerfielder to load the bases. In an eerily similar manner, John Clinard followed with by singling to left on a fly ball that dropped between Scott Dalrymple and Shaun Cooper. The single allowed two Waynesboro runs to score, giving the Generals their first lead of the evening at 5-4. To add insult to injury, Andrew Turocy followed Clinard with a homerun to right field, extending the Generals lead to 8-4. The TURKS were unable to find any offense over their final nine outs, giving the Generals the victory and the evening split. And to further top things off, Haymarket did in fact defeat Front Royal.

In season that saw the TURKS in first-place nearly a month ago and end the regular season in sixth place, fittingly the final night of the regular season displayed the highest of highs and lowest of lows for Harrisonburg, serving as a microcosm of the rollercoaster ride the Red and Blue and their fans have been a part of for 44 games. Thus, heading into the playoffs no one really knows what kind of TURKS team will take the field when the playoffs begin tomorrow night. But one thing is for sure, the TURKS next opponent, Winchester. The sixth seeded TURKS will travel to third seed Winchester tomorrow night at 7:30 for Game 1 of the best-of-three VBL quarterfinal series before returning to Eagle Field for Game 2 Wednesday evening, keeping the rollercoaster ride alive for at least two more nights and hopefully longer.

VBL Quarterfinal Round Matchups:

No. 1 Haymarket vs. No. 8 New Market

No. 2 Luray vs. No. 7 Covington

No. 3 Winchester vs. No. 6 Harrisonburg

No. 4 Front Royal vs. No. 5 Waynesboro

First round games at higher seeds for game one and game three (game three if necessary).