Turks Swept by Staunton

Written by Brien Krug
Turks Staff Writer
July 25, 2021

The Turks were looking to turn the page on a disappointing game 1 13-3 loss, as they hosted the Staunton Braves with their backs up against the wall down 1-0 in the best of 3 series.

In this must win game Bob Wease turned to JMU Duke, Liam McDonnell (3-0, 2.82 ERA). McDonnell would get off to a tremendous start setting down the first 2 Staunton hitters on strikes before Braves shortstop Ryan McCarty would knock a ball out to deep left center for a solo homer.

The Braves would strike again in the 2nd. On the second pitch of the inning Joseph Holiga would hit another solo homer out to left, doubling the Staunton lead to 2-0. In the 3rd Staunton would come up with the top of their order and take advantage of it. A triple followed by a double scored another run for Staunton. Back to back walks would load the bases with only 1 out, letting Luke Trainer fly out to center for a sac fly, extending the Braves lead to 4-0.

The Turks offense would be completely shut down by Braves starter Reid Celata. After a 1 out single from Crispin, Celata would set down 14 straight Turk batters before giving up 2 walks in the 6th. A wild pitch would move the runners to 2nd and 3rd for the DII National Champion, Logan McNeely. McNeely, however, would fly out to right and Cetala would get out of the jam and finish his day with 6 scoreless innings.

Jackson Dennies would come in for McDonnell in the 5th and really keep the Turks in the game. Dennies would pitch 4 shutout innings, striking out 4 and get out of jams in the 5th, 6th and 8th innings to keep the Turks in slam range.

With only 3 outs left in their season the Turks would look to pull off an improbable comeback win. Carlos Marte would start the inning with a single but back to back ground outs would put the Turks rally in jeopardy. Jordan Sweeney, who really came on in the second half of the season hitting .377 with 12 RBI’s after the all star break, would lace a ball off the right field wall but would be gunned down at 2nd to end the game and season for the Turks.

With the 4-0 loss the Turks 2021 VBL season would come to a close being swept by the Staunton Braves in the first round of the playoffs. Harrisonburg comes up short of their ultimate goal of Valley League Champions for a 9th straight year but there is some optimism for Bob Wease and the Turks as they made the playoffs for the first year since 2018.

It was a pleasure to cover this team this year. I want to thank Teresa and Bob Wease for the opportunity as well as the talented Turks play by play man, Shelton Moss for all the help throughout the season.