Turks Split Crucial Doubleheader

Written by Brien Krug 
Turks Staff Writer  
July 22, 2021

With the regular season starting to come to a close every single game counts in the playoff race. Especially for the Turks, who entered today’s doubleheader against the Staunton Braves with only a .5 game lead over Staunton for the 2nd seed and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

For game 1, Bob Wease turned to Will Carter (1-1, 4.22 ERA) to make his 4th start of the season. Carter would get off to a rough start giving up 1 run in both the 1st and 2nd innings giving Staunton the early 2-0 lead.

However, the Turks would respond right back in the home half of the 2nd. 3 out of the first 4 Turks hitters would reach base, loading the bases for Justin Wachs. Wach, who joined Harrisonburg on July 18th after starting the season with the Woodstock River Bandits, would perfectly place a ground ball for an RBI infield single. Carlos Marte would keep the line moving with a 1 run single to right, Crispin would ground out to first but score a run in the process. Logan McNeely would cap off the inning with a 2 run single giving the Turks the 5-2 lead.

Carter would go back out for the 3rd and run into trouble again. Back-to-back singles from Ian Diaz and Luke Trainer would lead to 2 more Braves runs cutting into the Turks lead. Harrisonburg would strike again in the 4th manufacturing a run on a perfectly executed 1st and 3rd double steal extending their lead to 6-4.

The Turks would add some insurance in the following inning. After some bad baserunning leading to the 2nd out of the inning, the Turks were in jeopardy of spoiling a golden opportunity but Clay Lockett would knock a clutch 2 run single to right, doubling the Turks lead to 8-4. Ben Sieracki would put the finishing touches on the game, pitching 4 scoreless innings in relief of Will Carter. The Turks would improve to 19-19 with the win and move 1 step closer to securing that much-sought home field advantage in Round 1.

Manager Bob Wease would call on the DII National Champion, Mac Callari (0-1, 5.56 ERA), to make his 2nd start of the season in the possible home-field advantage clinching game. Callari would get off to a rough start as Staunton would start the game aggressively. A single, triple, single, double, and single would lead to 4 early runs for the Braves.

After a quick 2nd inning, the Braves would strike again in the 3rd. A leadoff double from Cole Ragone, who had a 3/4 night with 8 total bases collected, would get the inning started. An RBI fielder’s choice would score their first run of the inning. Pete Vaccaro would cap off the inning with a 2 run triple and the Braves held a commanding 7-0 lead.

The Turks would score their only run in the 5th after a Justin Wachs double would score Logan McNeely, who hit a 2 out triple in the previous at-bat, but would be completely shut down by Braves starting pitcher Jalon Long.

Harrisonburg (19-20) would lose their first game of the season to Staunton in convincing 7-1 fashion setting up a winner takes 2nd seed and home-field advantage game tonight against the same Staunton Braves (18-20) at 7:30 PM at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton.