Last night had a little bit of everything and that always makes it harder to pick out an idea or two and run with it. I will tell you that Harrisonburg made it three straight by defeating New Market 6-5 after waiting out a 54 minute rain/lightning delay. It was great to be back where it all began for me- covering a game while doing the Rebel web cast with old friends Tony Mowat and Dallas Alkire. Charlie Dodge joined in as well when he made his way up to the Crows Nest in the sixth inning.
Charlie thought he had brought a lead with him (Rebels took a 4-3 lead) but when we look back he brought a severe weather front with him. I just switched back from reading the story that the 1ST Mr.D (Dustin Dopirak) wrote at http://www.dnronline.com/ . Dustin was there until the end and wasn't afraid to join in with us up in the Nest. The other Double D (TV-3 Damon Dillman) had no other game to get to so he spent a longer stretch of the game with us. Both of these gentlemen appear to really enjoy their work and this adds to the spirit of the evening.
When I made it back to the house I found 2 really neat e-mails relating to the Web-cast. The first one was from Mrs.Turks (Teresa), who was indeed listening at home with her daughter and grand baby in from San Diego. Mom will be proud to know that Matt did a great job representing the family and that her group of loyal fans stayed until the final pitch. This group includes Shelly and Chris Rush and their son Gavin along with Nicole and Chris Terrell(Please help if any names are mispelled). We have seen them in Waynesboro, Winchester, H-Burg, Staunton and now New Market!
Melissa Dodge showed me her passport with 7 stamps on it and #8 coming up on Thursday when the Rebels travel over the mountain for a game with the Wranglers.
The second e-mail was from a friend we made last year calling Rebel games. Kevin Meadus and his son John (New Market '07) were two of the many special people that I crossed paths with during our broadcasts. Kevin was always smiling and loved the way we described the pitching when John was on the mound. It was great to hear from Kevin and I hope we stay in touch for the summer.
Dustin did a nice job covering the highlights and chatting with Skipper Bob about the win so I will touch on some of the things that stuck out to me. The Turks starting pitcher, Eric Thomas, showed some spurts of dominating stuff and his performance last night sent me in search of more info. Here is what I found-
Thomas is listed as a 5'11 junior from Gainesville, Florida. He went from Bucholz High School over to Daytona Beach C.C. before signing with Bethune-Cookman. His older brother Lamar played in the NFL for both Miami and Tampa Bay. The famous athletes in the family doesn't stop there as his cousin J.Williams played a little basketball at Duke and later for the Chicago Bulls before an injury cut short his playing days. Williams was not only a hoop star but managed to earn a degree from Duke in just 3 years!
Thomas made it into the bottom of the fourth inning without allowing a Rebel hit or any ball to leave the infield. He had recorded 9 ground ball outs but at the same time walked Murray Watts (Arkansas State) twice on just eight pitches. Both walks to Watts came with a runner already on first base and gave New Market scoring opportunities. I asked Dallas if he noticed that none of the 8 pitches to Watts were in the same zip code of the strike zone.
B-C is in the MEAC (advanced to the NCAA's again this season) and Arkansas State is in the Sun Belt and I checked to see if they played each other last season and the answer was no. Thomas sure pitched around Watts like the two had a history and when Watts led off the 6Th Thomas decided to challenge him on a 2-2 count. Watts won the battle when he deposited the ball beyond the right field wall to give the Rebels a brief 4-3 lead.
Justin Wood followed Thomas to the mound 3 batters later and recorded five strike outs over the final 10 outs to earn the victory after Wease went to his bench during the game winning 3 run rally in the top of the seventh inning. Brett Stewart started the rally with a pinch-hit double and the second pinch hitter of the frame (Michael Precise) doubled in Stewart and Drew Johnson to give the visitors the lead.Landon Camp made it 6-4 with a single to score Precise to give Wood some breathing room.
OTHER COOL SCENES FROM THE PARK: Smokey the Bear and Rebecca went to the mound and threw out first pitches before the game. Brandon Kirsch (NW Missouri State) had the honor of trying to chase one of the two pitches down as Rebecca celebrated her completion of Around The Valley in 60 Days.
Nick Stanley(NM) was back in town for his first game of the season. Nick was busy helping NC State advance to the Super Regionals where the Wolf Pack fell to a pretty solid Georgia Bulldog squad. Georgia moved to 2-0 in the CWS with a 4-3 win over Stanford last night.
The photos from last night will appear later today and tonight we will be back @ Bulldog Field as Generals Sign Guy Mike and Co. make the trip north for the second half of a home-and-home following last nights make up game down in Waynesboro.