Lee Homer Lifts Turks

Harrisonburg Beats FR, 7-2
By Matthew Stoss
Daily News Record

Harrisonburg – For a guy who said he doesn’t hit home runs, Ryan Lee hit a very pretty home run.  But, more importantly, it was a necessary home run.

In the bottom of the eigth inning, Lee – a self-described non-power hitter – pulled an arching, regal two-run shot to right-center field to give the Harrisonburg Turks some breathing room and spur them to a 7-2 Valley Baseball League win over Front Royal on thursday at Veterans Memorial Park.

“I get a hold of them every once in a while,” said a grinning Lee, a 6-foot, 190-pound center fielder from Fordham.  “And, sometimes, it works out.”

Lee finished 3-for-4 with the homer (it was his second of the season), two runs and two RBIs.  Before his home run, the Turks (12-6) led 5-2 and the game still was very much in reach for the Cardinals (7-10).

“That was a big home run because any time you can be beyond four runs – above four runs – one swing of the bat can’t beat you,” Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said.

Chris Pike kept Front Royal from rallying after relieving starter Trey Cochran-Gill in the seventh inning.  The right-hander from Fordham tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out six.  He gave up just two hits and walked none, taking over for Cochran-Gil who also pitched well.

Cochran-Gill went 6 1/3 innings and struck out four in a row during one stretch that lasted from the first to second inning.  For the game, the right-hander from Auburn fanned six and scattered seven hits.

Cochran-Gill who threw roughly 75 pitches and still is getting stretched out as a starter after throwing only 34 1/2 innings and starting six games this season at Auburn – allowed just one earned run before succumbing to fatigue in the seventh.

“I might have had a little left but I guess I was getting kind of tired,” he said.

The game was tied 1-1 after the first inning, but the Turks took the lead for good in the second on a balk by Front Royal starter Garrett Cortright that scored Brian Yeung from third.  Yeung reached on an error after smoking a line shot off Cortright’s leg.  Cortright then over threw first base.

Harrisonburg went ahead 4-1 in the third inning when Lee scored on a wild pitch and David Roberts singed in Thomas Smith from third.  The Turks added one more run in the fourth when Smith walked with the bases loaded.  He finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.  Turks catcher Eric Mason went 3-for-3.

After the Cardinals added a run in the top of the seventh to make it 5-2, Lee put the game out of the reach (at least with Pike pitching) with his home run.

“I wasn’t thinking of doing too much – just driving it up the middle and getting an extra RBI and put a little more space between us,” Lee said.  “And that’s usually how it happens.  You’re not trying to do too much and it usually works out.”

Front Royal      100 000 100 – 2   9 1
Harrisonburg   112 100  02x – 7 11  2

Cortright, McKinney (4), Harlow (6), Fitzsimmons (8) and Neeb; Cochran-Gill, Pike (7) and Mason.  W – Cochran-Gill,  L – Cortright.  HR – H; Lee (2)