By CODY ELLIOTT Daily News-record | June 2, 2023
Shortstop Jose Perez of Seminole State College in Florida went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and three RBIs from the bottom of the lineup as Harrisonburg opened the 2023 Valley Baseball League season with a 7-4 victory over Woodstock at Central High School on Thursday.
The Turks actually trailed the River Bandits heading into the eighth inning, but Perez crushed a double in the top of that frame to bring home Cameron Harris and Tyler Borges and take a 5-4 advantage.
In the ensuing inning, an infield error by Woodstock, followed by an RBI single from Tren Kiraly, helped Harrisonburg extend its lead, and that was all it needed to stay on top the rest of the way.
Chad Heinder struck out two in the ninth, allowing no runs on a hit, to seal the win for the Turks.
Harris, a second baseman, was 3-for-5 with an RBI for Harrisonburg, while Kiraly, Sean Barnett, and Ben Barrett all finished with two hits apiece. Barnett and Barrett’s outings included a double each.
Center fielder Aiden Alexander was 1-for-4 in the leadoff spot for the Turks, while Borges and Gunnett Carlson added one hit and one run apiece. Harrisonburg finished with 15 hits as a team in the win.
On the mound, Collin McDougall got the start and lasted 3.1 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits and zero walks while striking out seven before a trio of relievers helped set up Heiner.
Garfield Johns, Jason Cheifetz, and Daniel Diaz combined to toss 4.2 innings of strong relief, giving up one earned run on three hits and four walks while also earning a pair of strikeouts for the Turks (1-0).
The home opener for Harrisonburg is scheduled for Friday at James Madison University’s Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg against Strasburg. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.
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