Turks Blank Luray

06/29/2011 – Daily News Record

Pima’s Felix Gets First Shutout, 7-0 Written by Mark Selig Sports Department, Daily News Record HARRISONBURG – Julio Felix had never pitched a shutout. Never in college, never in high school, not even in Little League.

He can say “never” no more.

Dripping in sweat by the time he recorded the final out, Felix allowed no runs in nine innings on a muggy Tuesday night to pitch the first-place Harrisonburg Turks to a 7-0 win over Luray at Veterans Memorial Park.

“I was feeling it from the first inning man,” said Felix, who made his first Valley Baseball League start because teammate Justin Somers had a toothache and will be getting a root canal today. “Feeling good the whole game.”

Felix, a reliever who had previously pitched just 3 2/3 innings for the Turks (17-5), actually seemed to be getting stronger as the game progressed. He allowed a hit in each of the first four innings, and then not another one until the ninth.

A rising sophomore at Pima Community College in Arizona, Felix was a starter for the first half of his freshman season and then moved into a relief role for the second half.

He certainly has a preference.

“I like starting more, to be honest with you,” Felix said, “because I get the chance to throw a complete game, a shutout.”

After doing that for the first time in his career, Felix – armed with a fastball that can touch 90 miles per hour, as well as a changeup, curveball and slider – said he would call his father and mother in Arizona, as well as some friends.

It was his second win of the season – well, sort of.

Last Wednesday, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder pitched an inning of relief in what was, at the time, a 6-5 victory over Covington. But his contract hadn’t been filed 24 hours in advance of that game, a rule that forced the Turks to forfeit the win.

Asked if Tuesday’s performance was enough to push Felix into the starting rotation, Turks manager Bob Wease said that decision is up to pitching coach Britt Echols, who just so happens to be one of Felix’s coaches at Pima.

“I’m sure he’s going to get a lot of innings,” Wease said, after considering the question again. “And I’d say yeah, he probably will [crack the rotation].”

The Turks provided plenty of offense to make Felix feel comfortable on the bump.

Mac Williamson went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run in the fifth inning that put Harrisonburg ahead 5-0. Williamson, a Wake Forest rising junior, scored three times and also had an RBI single in the first inning. His 26 RBIs rank second in the VBL behind teammate Dodson McPherson.

Williamson’s towering home run to left field undid what was, until then, a solid outing from Luray pitcher Andrew Armstrong – a Turner Ashby High School graduate and current Ohio State player.

Armstrong struck out 13 Turks, but allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings.

Harrisonburg is now 4-0 against Luray this year, outscoring the Wranglers 42-13.

Wease and Luray manager Mike Bocock have a long history, so asked if beating up on Luray means more to him, Wease admitted it does.

“Well any team I play is special – well, I guess it does,” he said. “Mike and I go way back. We go way back. So any time I can beat Luray, it’s extra special.”

The perennially contending Wranglers won the VBL last season but lost their first eight games to begin this summer.

That didn’t worry Bocock, who was missing more than a dozen of his players because of the NCAA playoffs. Saying his team had “the best talent in the league, without question,” he guaranteed Luray would make the VBL playoffs and be a team to beat.

The Wranglers then won four of five, but they have now lost six of their last seven. Luray (5-15) has allowed 52 runs in that span.

“We’re not making the plays,” Bocock said. “Defensively we’re making errors. We’re just giving up too many outs. It’s not good. And we got to do better.”

Luray has made 15 errors in its last six games, including three on Tuesday. Second baseman Brandon Mack made a pair of blunders in the seventh inning, leading to two more insurance runs for the Turks.

The Turks, ranked the seventh-best collegiate summer team by Perfect Game, have now won five straight, although they are becoming more banged up by the game.

Center fielder and leadoff hitter Jay Gonzalez was inactive for the first time all season with a ribs injury he suffered Monday at Woodstock. First baseman Chris Marconcini left Tuesday’s game after being hit in the elbow by a pitch.

Luray 000 000 000 – 0 5 3

Harrisonburg 100 130 20x – 7 10 1

Armstrong, Garrett (7), Boyd (8) and Janson; Felix and Mason. WP- Felix (2-0). LP- Armstrong (2-2). HRs- Williamson (7).

Turks starter Julio Felix fires a pitch against Luray at Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday.

Turks starter Julio Felix fires a pitch against Luray at Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday. Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R