Late Game Heroics Give Turks the Win

Written by Brian Krug
Turks Staff Writer
June 19, 2021

The Turks (3-5) were riding high as they travelled 26 miles down I-81 to take on South division rival the Staunton Braves (4-7).

Liam McDonnell (1-1, 3.60 ERA) would make his 3rd start of the season for Bob Wease’s Harrisonburg Turks. The Turks would give McDonnell some early run support in the 2nd thanks to a solo homer to deep right field off the bat of 1st baseman Jordan Sweeney. McDonnell would then run into some trouble in the 3rd.

After getting the first batter of the inning to fly to right, the lefty McDonnell would give up back to back singles putting runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 out. After a fly ball to center recorded the 2nd out, Staunton’s 3 hitter Ryan McCarty would hit a ball out to deep left center for a 2 RBI double and all of a sudden the Braves held the 2-1 lead.

It would not take long for the Turks to respond to the Braves crooked number in the 3rd. A leadoff double from Clay Lockett had the Turks in business in the 4th. A ground ball to 2nd from Michael Rosario would move Lockett to 3rd and a fly ball to right from Hartigan would bring him in to tie the game.

The bats would stay quiet until the 8th as both teams would combine for only 3 baserunners over that span. A leadoff walk from Turks catcher Austin Mueller would get the rally started for Harrisonburg. A fortunate error by Staunton shortstop Ryan McCarty would bring up Clay Lockett with 2 runners on.

Lockett would then take the 3rd pitch of the at bat over the left center wall for a clutch 3 run homer to give the Turks the 5-2 lead. However the Turks were not out of the woods quite yet.

A 1 out error would give the Braves some life in the home half of the 8th. The next pitch would be hit down into the left field corner scoring McCarty from first and cutting the Turks lead to two. Ben Sieracki, who replaced McDonnell in the 6th, would set down the next two Brave hitters to strand the runner at 3rd.

After a silent top of the 9th for the Turks on came Notre Dame product Will Mercer to close the game. Mercer would get the first hitter to ground out before Staunton Catcher Marshall Awtry would hit a solo homer to cut the Turks lead to only 1. Mercer would settle down afterwards and get the last two hitters to fly out to close the game.

The Turks win their 2nd straight moving to 2nd in the south 3.5 games behind 1st place Charlottesville.

Harrisonburg (4-5) takes on the Front Royal Cardinals (4-7) tomorrow in a home double header starting at 5:30 PM.