Turks Hang on to Beat River Bandits

By Jen Kulju
Turks Staff Wrriter

HARRISONBURG – After jumping out to an early lead on Tuesday, the Harrisonburg Turks hung on to beat the Woodstock River Bandits 11-9 in a game that saw 20 runs, 27 hits, a handful of batters hit by pitches, and a combination of defensive greatness and follies by both teams.

The Turks were on the board in the bottom of the first inning after Grant Van Scoy (Illinois) blooped the ball down the line in right for a hit off of Woodstock’s starting pitcher Brett Linton. Van Scoy advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout to short by Austin Embler (UNC Greensboro).

The second inning proved to be even more fruitful for the Turks, who scored six runs on seven hits. Luke Nussman (Shenandoah) led off with a single up the middle. Kyle Johnson (Rider) followed with an infield hit between second and third. With two runners on, Cam Irvine (Virginia Tech) walked to load the bases. Caleb Wells (Pasco-Hernando State College) hit a sacrifice fly to left center, scoring Nussman. Van Scoy grabbed his second hit of the game with a single up the middle. Johnson scored on a base hit to center by Embler. Zach Little (Wingate) then lined to left center for a double, scoring Irvine and Van Scoy. Elian Merejo (Georgia State) singled to right, scoring Embler—and giving the Turks a 7-0 lead.

The Turks scored one more in the third to give them an even greater lead. Walls doubled to right center to start the inning. Van Scoy singled to left, moving Walls to third. Walls scored on Embler’s second single of the game.

The tide turned in the fourth, however, as the River Bandits bounced back to score five runs—one off of Turks’ starting pitcher Alex Carpenter (Florida State) and four off of the Turks’ Daniel Brandon (Longwood).

Alex Rodriguez (Wingate) came in to pitch at the top of the sixth, and Woodstock scored one more in that inning to come within two of the Turks.

The Turks answered back at the bottom of the sixth with two runs of its own. Johnson singled to right off of new Woodstock pitcher Tyler Serrichio. With the hit-and-run on, Irvine singled to left, and Walls took first after being hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Serrichio walked Van Scoy and Tristan Baker (Shenandoah), scoring two. The Turks were up 10-6.

The River Bandits were able to score one run in each of the remaining innings, but came up two shy of the Turks.

     Van Scoy, Little and Johnson all had three hits on the night. Van Scoy also made a particularly nice play at short in the third inning when he dove for a ground ball up the middle to get the force at second.

Nine pitchers rotated in and out of the game (four for the River Bandits, five for the Turks). Brandon got the win and Linton got the loss. Rafe Schindler (New Orleans), who pitched the ninth, got the save.

The Turks are now 9-5 and take on the Purcellville Cannons at home on Wednesday night.