By: Scoop Carter
LURAY- Five times a Harrisonburg Turk came to the plate without a runner on base and proceeded to hit a solo home run off Luray pitchers Tuesday night. Those long balls coupled with Eric Thomas pitching eight strong innings allowed the visiting Turks a 7-2 victory in the VBL playoff opener at Bulldog Field.
Brett Stewart (Appalachin State) spotted Thomas a 1-0 lead when he led off the top of the second inning with a home run off Wrangler starter Travis Smink. Smink settled down after the shot and helped his own cause by picking off Wilsisky Baez after Baez had singled.
B.J Wheeler (Oklahoma City) connected off Smink with one out in the top of the fourth inning and Baez pushed the lead out to 3-0 with a double that plated Stewart. Luray would get one of the runs back after a 2-out double from Gus Miller (Ohio Stae) scored Austin Markel after Markel reached on the third walk Thomas allowed.
The teams traded runs with Harrisonburg scoring when Michael Precise doubled to the gap in right center allowing Mark Brooks to score from first base. Luray answered when Jeff Jefferson reached after being hit by a pitch and came around to score on Miller's second RBI of the night.
Harrisonburg led 4-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning and one Turk connected for a solo shot in each of the last three innings. Wheeler connected for the second time in the seventh inning to end the night for Smink and Baez (Western Oklahoma State-8TH inning) along with Chris Murphy (Southern Illinois-9TH) rounded out the scoring.
Thomas struck out six while issuing 4 walks and hitting two batters over his eight innings. The junior from Bethune-Cookman tossed 121 pitches thru eight innings and allowed Luray just 3 hits. Justin Wood (James Madison University) pitched the ninth inning and managed to work around the lone Turks error for the night top keep the score at 7-2.
The teams will return to action Wednesday night over at Veterans Memorial Stadium with the action set to start at 7:30 PM...
1. Luray rallied back in 2007 after dropping their playoff opener to the visiting Front Royal cardinals. Luray captured games 2& 3 to advance to the next round of action.
2. Luray was managed by interim skipper Bill Turner for the second time this season after the
VBL sat down Mike Bocock for the series opener. Mike will be back on Wednesday night.
3. Prior to Game #1, Luray's Ace Lefty Travis Smink had surrendered just 1 home run all summer.
4. ATV-60 Loopsters Jeff Buckley and Madison Buckley tossed out ceremonial 1ST pitches before the game.
5. Dustin was in town from the Daily News Record as was Bill Meade from the Page News and Courier. You can check out Dustin's work at http://www.dnronline.com/