Serchay’s Walkoff Lifts Harrisonburg Over Waynesboro
By Nick Sunderland
Daily News Record
HARRISONBURG – Winning never gets old for Bob Wease.
In his 15th year as manager of the Harrisonburg Turks, the energetic 72-year old was given another reminder of why he keeps coming back for more Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Park.
Texas-San Antonio left fielder Jason Serchay delivered a walkoff RBI single as the host Turks outlasted the Waynesboro Generals 5-4 in a 10-inning, season-opening Valley Baseball League game.
And who was the first person to greet TSA catcher Mason George with a high-five after he crossed the plate to score the winning run? Wease, of course.
“This keeps me young, man,” Wease, owner of the Turks since 1990, said with a big smile.
Harrisonburg took a 3-2 lead into the ninth before Oakland first baseman Zach Sterry tied the game for the Generals with a line-drive solo home run over the right field wall.
James madison left-hander Eric Yankey, a former Turner Ashby High School standout, had retired the first nine batters he faced in relief before Sterry’s tying blast.
Waynesboro pulled ahead at 5-4 later in the ninth when Central Florida right fielder Eli Putnam scored on a wild pitch by JMU right hander Christian Bourne.
But the Turks were able to force extra innings, converting Ferrum third baseman Ty Comer’s leadoff double into a tying run on North Carolina-Greensboro shortstop Tripp Shelton’s RBI sacrifice fly.
Two innings later, Serchay singled up the middle off Randolph-Macon sidewinder Christian Cok to score George and give Harrisonburg its first victory of the 2016 season.
“I was just looking for something up in the zone to drive, and luckily, I got it,” said Serchay, who finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.
A first-year Turks player, Serchay said he’s only been in Harrisonburg for three days. In his downtime, he said he’s eaten at the fast-food joint Cook Out for the first time, visited Wease’s used-car lot and settled in to his new apartment at Mountain View Heights.
His walk off hit Wednesday was a bit more exciting.
“I’m proud of these guys for the way they battled back,” Wease said. “They hung right in the ball game and they seemed to be having a good time, and that’s what it’s about.”
Early on, Waynesboro starting pitcher Tyler Davis was dominant. The Kansas right-hander struck out nine batters and allowed one earned run over five innings, tossing only 13 balls during an efficient 62-pitch performance.
But the Springville, Calif., native did not factor in Wednesday’s decision.
Harrisonburg scored twice in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead with Serchay’s two-out RBI single plating the go-ahead run.
The Turks hung on to that advantage until Sterry, who won last year’s Prospect League home-fun derby, tied the game in the ninth on a 3-1 pitch.
Generals manager Matt Williams sad, he’d actually given Sterry “the green light” when the count was at 3-0.
“Sterry’s a pretty phonomenal hitter,” Williams said.
But the Turks — who dressed only 16 players Wednesday due to NCAA regionals, Wease said – – still came back to win.
Waynesboro 002 000 002 0 –4 5 0
Harrisonburg 010 002 000 1 — 8 11 2
Paprocki, Yankey (6), Bourne (9) and George; Davis, Elwer (6) and Salladay. W – Bourne L – Cok HRs – Waynesboro, Sterry