Turks Turn It Around

Start Valley League Playoffs Tonight As Second Seed

Written by Phil D’Abbraccio
Daily News Record

Harrisonburg – In Bob Wease’s eyes, the last team standing after the Valley Baseball League playoffs isn’t always the best one.

“I wish the season would end just a little bit earlier so the boys could get out of here and go on home,” the Harrisonburg Turks’ manager said. “We’ve already lost four or five players. Usually, the winner is the one who keeps their players, because everyone wants to go home. It’s a pretty long summer.”

Daniel Lin/DNR, photo credit

The VBL’s season is nearing its end, as today marks the start of the league’s postseason.

Wease’s Turks (21-21), as the No. 2 seed out of the Valley League’s South division, will welcome in third-seeded Waynesboro (20-21) at 7:30 p.m. today at Veterans Memorial Park, kicking off a best-of-three series.

Sunday’s Game 2 is slated to be hosted by Waynesboro at 7 p.m. at Kate Collins Field, and if necessary, Veterans Memorial Park will hold Game 3 on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Harrisonburg overcame a 3-9 start to the season to earn home-field advantage for this weekend’s opening round.

“We’ve turned it around. We really have,” Wease said. “This is one of the worst seasons I’ve ever had in terms of record, but I got a good group of guys. They’re going to be playing hard, so I look for us to have a good run in the playoffs.”

Charlottesville, which owns a VBL best, 32-10 record, claimed the South’s top seed and takes on fourth-seeded Staunton this weekend. In the North division’s action, top-seeded Purcellville takes on Winchester, and No. 2 New Market battles third-place Strasburg.

Front Royal, Woodstock and Covington didn’t qualify for the eight-team postseason, which has a format of best-of-three series throughout each round.

The Turks, who were in fourth place in the South at the beginning of July, reeled off six victories in a row in the middle of the month to improve their positioning.

“I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Turks catcher Joe Lytle, of Oklahoma City University. “Have good at-bats, good approaches. Pitchers just need to keep doing what they’re doing. They’ve been pretty good for us.”

The Turks overtook Waynesboro for second place earlier this week and maintained their spot, despite loosing three of their last four regular-season games.

Harrisonburg locked up the No. 2 seed with it’s 10-9 comeback win Wednesday in Staunton, overcoming an 8-3 deficit with a five-fun seventh inning.

“It’s usually not until the later innings, but I mean, if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes,” Lytle said of the Turks’ offense. “Honestly, I think the difference has been everyone’s just battling. No one’s wasting an at-bat, swinging at bad pitches, for the most part.”

Harrisonburg went 3-3 against Waynesboro during the regular season.

The Generals’ three victories over the Turks came by a combined score of 22-6. But Harrisonburg won both of the teams’ July match ups – – a 7-3 July 15 win and a 6-3 victory Sunday, both in Waynesboro.

“The guys done like to lose. Nobody likes to lose,” Wease said. “When you go out there on the field, you go out there with one intention and that’s to win. I think this groups of guys wants to win. I think they really showed it Wednesday night in Staunton. I think we’re going to be OK.”