Arias Makes His Mark

His Second Home Run Of Season In turks’ 6-1 Win

By Matt Jones
Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG – Bryan Arias was arguable the worst-dressed baseball player on the field Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Park.

With his oversized pants sagging around his wiry 6-foot, 185-pound frame, the Harrisonburg Turks second baseman said he was not too concerned with his appearance.

Turks manager Bob Wease doesn’t mind the look, either – as long as the 19-year old Texas-San Antonio infielder plays like he did Thursday.

“He don’t even have to wear pants if he keeps playing like he is now,” Wease said.

Arias proved that style points don’t matter. He went 3-for-4 with a home run, double, walk and three RBIs to lead Harrisonburg to a 6-1 win over Staunton in a Valley Baseball League game.

The win moves the Turks to 3-2, while Staunton – which had the best record in the Valley League at 35-17 in 2015 – fell to 1-5.

It did not take long for Arias to leave his mark Thursday.

The San Antonio native hit a 3-0 pitch from Staunton right-hander Brandon Gochenour over the right-field wall in the first inning to give Harrisonburg a 1-0 lead. It was Arias’ second home run of the Valley League season, despite hitting just one in his 50 games for the Roadrunners this spring.

“It was 3-0, and Bob basically gave me the swing-out-of-your-shoes sign,” Arias said. “That’s what I did, and luckily I came out on top of it.”

The home run staked Turks starter Corey Childress to an early lead he would not give up.

The Troy University right-hander – who had a 3.12 earned-run average this spring in 26 appearances as a sophomore – allowed one run on four hits in seven innings for the Turks.

He said he effectively mixed his fast-ball, curve-ball, slider and change-up, finishing with five strikeouts and one walk.

“I felt good. I had control of my fast-ball and I was able to work into my off-speed and keep hitters off-balance,” said Childress, a 6-foot, 190-pound native of Fairhope, Ala.

No Braves player had multiple hits Thursday. West Virginia Tech second-baseman Marcus Rodriguez’s RBI ground out, in the third inning produced Staunton’s only run.

“The story of the game was our pitchers fell behind in the count and Harrisonburg hit the pitches in their advantage and they hit it hard,” Staunton manager George Laase said.

Gochenour, a rising sophomore at Potomac State College, allowed two runs on four hits over four innings.

Arias drew a bases-loaded walk in the second to give Harrisonburg a 2-0 lead. His RBI double in the sixth made it 4-1. He’s 12-for-22 (.545) through five games for the Turks, following a freshman season at UTSA in which he hit .321 while batting cleanup and playing shortstop. He was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team.

He’s proving his play speaks for itself.

“They’re a little baggy,” Arias said of his pants, which folded over his high blue socks,” so I figured why not go with some Sunday tweeners.

Christian Bourne, a James Madison rising sophomore right-hander, pitched a scoreless eighth for the Turks. Wake Forest rising junior right-hander Donnie Sellers struck out the side in the ninth.

Wease said he’s expecting a handful of pitchers to join the team in the coming days, as well as 2015 Valley League Most Valueable Player Shane Billings. The Wingate University outfielder is waiting to see if he’s selected in the Major League Baeball Draft, which runs through Saturday, Wease said.

The 15-year manager was happy with the way the Turks – who finished with 11 hits – looked at the plate Thursday. He expects the additions next week to only strengthen the team.

“I thought it was god it really was,” Wease said of the lineup. “It’s going to get a lot better come Monday.”

Staunton           001 000 000 –  1  8 3
Harrisonburg  110   012  01x — 6 11 0

Gochenour, Clark (5), Jackson (7) and Maddox; Childress, Bourne (8), Sellers (9) and George.  W-Childress.  L-Bochenour.  HR – Arias (2)