Onda Dominates Late in 7-6 Walk-Off Win over Rival GeneralsBy Chase Kiddy | Harrisonburg Turks Staff Writer
W: Logan Onda (4-1)
L: Zach Williamsen (2-3)
The Turks won another hectic, up-and-down game on Monday night, blowing a 5-run lead late but hitting an improbable walk-off in the bottom of the 11th to beat the Waynesboro Generals 7-6.
Harrisonburg (19-11) led 6-2 after seven innings when the Turks elected to replace starter Boone Mokry with James Ziemba. When his first three batters reached base (one base hit, two walks), Ziemba, too, was yanked — this time in favor of ace closer Logan Onda.
A light rain had started to fall by then, and Onda didn’t quite have the handle he would have liked to. Shortstop Mike Marcinko scored on a wild pitch, and pinch hitter Tyler Orris scored on Garrett Russini’s groundout to second. By the end of the inning, the Turks’ lead had been halved to just two runs.
Rain was still falling in the top of the 9th when Onda walked lead-off batter Kevin Krupp. Krupp advanced to third on pinch hitter Dre Gleason’s slow-falling single into shallow right field, and both runners scored when Marcinko hit a long triple onto the warning track in right center. The game was tied at 6-6, and when left fielder Eric Kalbfleisch got stranded at second in the bottom of the ninth, the Turks went to extras for the second consecutive home game.
Fortunately for Harrisonburg, the rain had stopped, and Onda was coming out firing. He struck out the side in the 10th inning to give Harrisonburg a shot at a quick win. It looked promising, too; lead-off batter Brandon Gold reached first base after being hit by a pitch; he reached third when three-year Turks veteran Thomas Smith smacked one up the middle for a base hit. But center fielder Christopher Barr flew out to right field to end the inning.
In the top of the 11th, Onda was still a janissary on the mound. He struck out the side again for six consecutive strikeouts.
But it was in the bottom of the 11th where Onda won the game. Due to a tragic misstep early in the game, third baseman Matt Rose — who had already spent two full innings fielding the hot corner — was errantly mistaken for the designated hitter by game officials. When Rose was eventually tossed for arguing balls and strikes in a colorful manner, the DH position was eliminated, and Harrisonburg pitchers were forced to take at bats for the remainder of the game.
Fast-forward back to the bottom of the 11th. First baseman Daniel Nichols hit a lead-off double off the right field wall. Second to the plate was Onda, who showed a bunt — that is, until catcher Steve Pollakov let a ball get past him, and Nichols took third. With the winning run on third and no outs, Onda smacked a ball out to the center fielder, who couldn’t beam the throw to home plate in time to beat Nichols.
That wasn’t the first time a Turks pitcher had burned the Generals on Monday night, either. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, starting pitcher Boone Mokry pushed a double deep into center field, scoring two and setting up Nichols to score from third during the next at bat. The 3-run fourth inning is what stretched the Turks’ initial lead out to begin with.
Onda picks up his first RBI of the season, as well as the win and eight strikeouts in four innings of action. His record is now 4-1.
At the plate, Nichols and Kalbfleisch both had brilliant games, each going 3 for 5. Nichols also chipped in 3 RBI and 2 scores.
Rose was 0 for 2 at the plate. He will be ineligible to compete Tuesday night.
Harrisonburg trails league-leading Front Royal by 1.5 games. They can make up that ground with a nice outing on Tuesday night, when the Covington Lumberjacks come to town for a double-header. The first game is scheduled to start at 6:00pm.
Chase Kiddy has served as the Harrisonburg Turks’ staff writer since Spring 2012. Contact him at email@example.com, or yell at him in the press box during home games at Veterans Memorial Park.