Turks Win In 11

Spitz’s RBI Nets 3-2 Victory

Daily News Record

HARRISONBURG – R.J. Perucki said he feels like the Harrisonburg Turks can’t lose. In a game against the Winchester Royals on Friday night, the Turks’ shortstop was right.

Thomas Spitz singled up the middle in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Turks a 3-2 walk-off Valley League win at Veterans Memorial Park.

“He was kind of throwing a pattern of off-speed, fastball, off-speed, fastball,” said Spitz, a center fielder from Wingate. “I was thinking fastball, but he spun me, and I just stayed through the middle and put the bat on the ball.”

After going 7 2/3 innings without a run, the Turks rallied with two outs in the bottom of the 11th.

Taylor Nichols, who entered the game in the ninth inning for Josh Clark, hit a ground-rule double to get things started. Spitz, a replacement for Jace Whitley in the seventh inning, then singled through the middle to score Nichols.

Not bad for a couple players coming in cold off the bench.

“I don’t consider those guys subs,” said Turks manager Bob Wease. “They start as many games as anybody else. Taylor is a good ballplayer behind the plate, and he [got] that big double. Spitz didn’t start tonight, but he comes in and gets the winning hit.”

The Turks (10-5) extended their winning streak to five games and stayed within a half-game of division leader Staunton.

Spitz has appeared in 14 games this season. While he leads the team with 15 strikeouts, he showed Friday night what he’s capable of with his game-winning hit.

The Royals (4-11) jumped on the Turks early. After a leadoff single by J.D. Long in the first inning, Erick Quesada bunted him to second. Jake Cintolo singled in front of Brad Fieger, who lofted a sacrifice fly, his third RBI of the season.

In the second inning, Jimmy Spanos extended the Winchester lead to 2-0 on an RBI single to score Jordan Peterson.

The Turks battled back in the third inning, scoring twice with two outs. John Welborn scored on a two-error play by the Royals, then Perucki singled home Andy Perez to tie the game.

The bats for both clubs fell silent after the third inning. Winchester starting pitcher Josh Desai did his part, holding the Turks to two runs on just five hits over seven innings. In fact, the Turks did not have a runner reach third base the rest of the night.

“We just kept battling. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t make the most of them,” Perucki said. “[Desai] mixed it up pretty well, and we were chasing balls out of the zone, too.

Harrisonburg’s Jake Harper, a rising junior at St. Joseph’s College, kept the Turks in the game over his 7 2/3 innings. Harper lowered his season ERA to 3.31 and recorded his third-straight outing of at least seven innings and two runs or less.

The fact that two of the game’s biggest hits came from reserves didn’t surprise Perucki.

“It shows you how deep we are,” Perucki said. “We have guys that don’t play every day or aren’t playing that one day, and they can do just as well as anybody in the lineup.”

The Turks will try to carry the momentum of Friday night’s walk-off win into this weekend, when they face North division leader Woodstock on Saturday and Sunday.

“We feel good – like we can’t lose really,” Perucki said. “We’re just kind of rolling, really.”