Author: turksbaseball

Host Families Needed!

Turks Nation!

We are looking for families to host our players this upcoming summer. If you are interested in hosting one or multiple Turks players this summer, please contact us using the information below.



Primary: | 540-290-2929

Secondary: | 540-246-6648

Kratz: From MLB Catcher To Middle School Coach

November 18, 2022
Written by David Driver
Daily News-Record

Last March, Erik Kratz was in spring training with the New York Yankees catching All-Star pitchers before the pandemic shut down the sport.

Now a little bit over a year later — with Opening Day on Thursday — the former Eastern Mennonite University backstop is teaching the finer points of baseball to young boys not far from his boyhood home about 40 miles north of Philadelphia.

“It has been different but has been a really good different. There is always a lot of uncertainty” in pro baseball, said Kratz, 40, who is married with three children. “There are a lot of things that people don’t see. There is a lot of packing and stuff, and it is no nice not to be missing it.”


After four years of Division III ball at EMU and a pro career that lasted from 2002 to 2020, Kratz is the baseball coach for the middle-school team at Dock Mennonite Academy — which has campuses in Souderton and Lansdale, Penn.

“It is really cool; we have kids who have players who are really good to some who have never played baseball before and are learning the game from the grassroots,” Kratz told the News-Record in a telephone interview. “It is fun for me.”

One of the players on his team is his son Brayden, an eighth-grader who figures to be his shortstop when the team begins games next month.

“He is only 14 so I hope he plays all positions,” Kratz said. “On his travel team, he will probably be the shortstop there. He has caught, he has played third, he has played center field.”

After Kratz retired in November — he told the News-Record after the 2019 season that would be his intention — he spoke with Dock athletic director Tim Ehst about being the varsity baseball coach.

“But I don’t have any kids in high school,” pointed out Kratz, whose main reason for retiring as a player was to spend more time with his family.

For the same reason, he declined to be a varsity assistant since that would also take him away from his wife, Sarah (Troyer) Kratz, and children.

So Kratz asked Ehst about coaching the middle-school team. “For real? That would be great,” said Ehst, according to Kratz.

“We were really excited for him to coach at that level,” Ehst, a former EMU basketball player and 1976 graduate, said Tuesday of Kratz. “He is obviously well over-qualified.”

Kratz has one of the other fathers, Kyle Frank, assisting him and the mother of another player will also lend a hand. “She knows what she is doing and is someone that can help out,” Kratz said of EMU graduate Kara Derstine, one of the best softball players to come out of Dock.


Coaching youth may not be a long-term gig for Kratz, also a veteran of USA Baseball teams. Kratz has “put his name out there” for possible broadcasting jobs in the baseball industry though nothing has panned out.

He has also open to being a coach at the pro level, though he points out the pandemic has seen most Major League clubs cut back on their instructors in player development since there was no minor league season in 2020.

“We are using this year to seek out what is next,” Kratz said. “I think something great will come out of it. I want to make myself available for job opportunities in radio or television. I have talked to some networks, but no one is hiring. It is really about being home and being present; we will see what happens. At this point in my life, it is awesome to be at home. But at some point, I do need to be employed.”

Kratz was drafted out of EMU in the 29th round in 2002 by Toronto. While in college, he played for Waynesboro and Harrisonburg in the Valley Baseball League.

He toiled in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut with Pittsburgh in 2010. Kratz played at least two games in every Major League season for several teams through 2020, with a high of 68 games with his hometown Philadelphia Phillies in 2013.

He ended up playing in 332 Major League games and hitting .209 with 31 homers. Last year, he hit .321 for the Yankees in 28 at-bats over 16 regular-season games.

Kratz was a big part of the Brewers’ playoff success in 2018.

“If you’re 38 years old and still catching,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told USA Today in 2018 about Kratz, “it’s almost assured that you’re a very good receiver of the baseball, you have a very good handle on managing a game, you take fast at knowing hitters.”

Kratz spent part of 2019 with the Giants. “He has a great way about him,” former Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy, who grew up in Northern Virginia and won three World Series titles, told the News-Record that year about Kratz. “He does a great job handling the staff.”

The right-handed hitting catcher also played in 1,027 minor-league games, hitting .259 with 134 homers. He was also used for mop-up duty as a pitcher in the majors seven times.

“Baseball is awesome,” he said. “It is a lot of fun to play, to be able to do all that. But at the beginning of spring training, there was all of the packing up and settling in. There was the enjoyment of spring training but then it was back to work. With two weeks left in spring training, you are packing up again and uncertain where you are going to go.”

Kratz has been watching Major League games on television and stays in touch with some of his former teammates, ribbing them with good-natured texts. “I love watching them,” he said. “I don’t miss it at all.”

So these days, he doesn’t have to worry about calling pitches for veteran and rookie pitchers alike. “I never worried about calling pitches. For me, it was hitting them” that was the problem, he said, with a laugh.

Wease Sells Turks, Will Continue To Coach

November 2, 2022

By Shane Melton
Daily News-Record

The name Bob Wease has been synonymous with the Harrisonburg Turks and the entire Valley Baseball League for more than three decades.

But after 32 seasons as president and general manager of the Turks, Wease sold the team and is handing those titles over to another Valley League veteran, Gerald Harman.

Harman takes over ownership and front office duties immediately while Wease will stay on to coach the club for his 21st season in the dugout. Wease is stepping back in large part due to his wife, Teresa, dealing with vision issues that have made working in front of a computer difficult. Teresa, who Bob Wease called the “backbone of the Turks” handled many of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities.

“I’m 79 years old,” Bob Wease said. “We’ve won a bunch of championships and a bunch of pennants. We’ve been ranked in the top seven in the country four of five different times. But my wife has an eye problem, and it just comes a time where you feel like you have to move on.”

Harman, a native of the Shenandoah Valley who said he grew up cheering for the Turks’ rival Staunton Braves, has worked for several other Valley League teams including in Luray, Woodstock, Staunton, and Waynesboro.

He’s been active in recruiting players to the league, an aspect he and Wease agreed has become more difficult in recent years as more collegiate summer leagues pop up around the nation. That will be a big focus for the Turks moving forward as they try to keep the talent level and quality of play up.

More than 165 former Turks have played professional baseball and some of the top coaches in the NCAA have also come through Harrisonburg, including Virginia’s Brian O’Connor and Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan.

But at its heart, the Turks are a local club and fans may see some changes in the operation, but not many.

The gameday experience will be similar, though Harman said he’s hoping to add some new promotions at Veterans Memorial Park, including some with area baseball and softball teams ranging from youth leagues to high schools.

“I plan on hitting all the little leagues and get them out,” Harman said. “Hopefully to have a couple of little league teams here every game. I’ve thought about recognizing the high school players that make all-district and regions. Give them a little notoriety. We’re just trying to be big in the community. We want everybody to know, we’re the Harrisonburg Turks.”

Perhaps the biggest change may be in housing players. Wease paid to put players up in apartments for the summer, but Harman is hoping to rely on local host families, a typical route for many collegiate summer league teams.

“I’ll tell you why this is so exciting for me and also a little sad for me,” Harman said. “I feel like I’m taking Bob away, but that’s why I’m so happy he’s going to stick around and help me. It’s big shoes to fill, but I’ve jumped in them and it’s on me to keep the Turks at the top of the league.”

Thank You to Our Amazing 2022 Harrisonburg Turks

August 22, 2022

The Turks were blessed with these seven amazing student interns that were outstanding assets to our organization this past season.

Stephen Potucek and Nick Zona graduated from James Madison University in 5/2022. They were our Game Day Operations staff. They were responsible for contacting and assisting all of our National Anthem performers, Field of Dream Teams, First Pitch guests, and Pack the Park Night Sponsors. They created and produced all of our season game day rosters. They did a great job with our young fans running our on-field games. Our fans enjoyed their wit and energy. They made sure to greet all of our fans as they were leaving the games and encouraged them to come back. 

Stephen was the hardest working energizer bunny that we’ve ever had. He did his job and was always looking for what else he could help with. We’re looking forward to giving him a raving reference to whatever jobs he applies for. He’ll definitely be an asset to their company.

Nick Zona played on the JMU baseball team and was selected in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. He had to leave us the last two weeks before our season ended as he moved on to pursue his childhood dream of playing major league baseball. Nick also played for the 2019 Turks. We wish him all the best.

Quinn Madden from Shepherd University was our Social Media Director along with her assistant Elizabeth Helmich from James Madison University. These two talented young ladies did a fabulous job creating eye-catching graphics on all of our social media platforms all season for our fans to enjoy. 

Quinn does social media for the Shepherd University football team. She had a busy summer interning with the Turks and for the JMU Athletic Department to build her resume as she returns to school this fall. 

Elizabeth Helmich  Elizabeth is a media arts and design student at JMU where she plays for the Dukes   
Social Media            volleyball team. Elizabeth also had a productive summer interning both with the Turks and the JMU Athletic Department, while working some of their volleyball camps. She is a very talented young lady and we’re looking forward to attending some of her volleyball games this fall.



Logan Weller is a media arts and design, and sports communication student at James  Madison University. He is the Assistant to the Supervisor of Athletic Photography. We were blessed to have him as our team photographer. Logan captured outstanding action shots of our players, great memories of the player, and staff friendships. He was always at the right place at the right time to take that special shot to share that play, celebration, excitement, and the feeling of what was being experienced at that time by our players, coaches, and fans.                                     

John Breeden graduated from James Madison University this spring. He was our staff writer covering all of our Turks games this summer. John also did a good job writing interesting stories on our players and coaches. He had acquired his writing experience working on the JMU Breeze paper, and freelancing at the local Daily News-Record. We’re proud to report that after our season was over John was hired as a sports reporter for the DNR. We look forward to following his stories on all of our local sports in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Shelton Moss, our webcast broadcaster wasn’t an intern this summer. Shelton graduated from Virginia Tech last spring and interned with the Turks for the 2021 summer. He did such a great job we were excited to invite him back for another season of him sharing the action at our home games at Veterans Memorial Stadium into the homes of all our families and fans from afar. Shelton came to us last summer with plenty of experience announcing games at Virginia Tech. After our 2021 season, he was hired as an Athletic Communications Assistant covering men’s soccer and baseball at Radford University. Shelton was thrilled to return for another season with the Turks to continue to build his resume and his broadcasting form. We wish him continued success in his sports communication career.

The Harrisonburg Turks are very proud of these young people’s desire to gain experience and build their resumes with our organization. We can see each of them being successful with their work ethics and talents as they continue their professional journeys. We sincerely appreciate their energy and hard work, skills, and great personalities that helped to make the 2022 Turks season a huge success.