LURAY- I lived a scene right out of Groundhog Day this evening at Bulldog Field. My days and nights are running into one another but I could almost promise you that Alex Koronis was pitching the last time I was at the park in Luray (Thursday night). When I returned for the game Friday night as the Staunton Braves came to town I check my notes and it says starting pitcher for Luray is #18 (Miami) Alex Koronis.
Seth McGuffin (Wrangler Web Cast) re-assures me that Koronis did indeed come out of the pen and throw 22 pitches to earn the win against Harrisonburg. Tonight Koronis hit the ground running and never slowed down. Alex fired 97 pitches over his seven innings of shut out work which included 10 strike outs as the Hurricane led Luray to a 6-3 victory over Staunton in the VBL semi-final.
Koronis left with a 6-0 lead before the top of the eighth and earned his second win of the post season in just under 24 hours. Luray played its normal game of smothering starting pitching and power hitting that allowed Skipper Mike Bocock's team to tie Waynesboro for the best record in the VBL regular season.
Staunton starter Justin Dignelli (George Washington) started out strong but ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Braves trailed just 1-0 heading into the sixth, after Jordan Yost's homer put the Wranglers on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Dignelli limited the Wranglers to just 3 hits before the sixth but Luray hit back to back Home Runs with C.J Lauriello (2-run home run) and Ryan Schimpf following with a solo shot to push the lead out to 4-0.
Yost (West Virginia ) was one of the few Wranglers to solve Dignelli early when he homered.
" I went to the plate looking fastball and that is what he (Dignelli) threw me."
I am going to sneak in a quick Q & A with the man of the hour or in this case the man of the 24 Hours, Alex Korronis:
Alex Koronis is now in the room and my first question is this- Have you ever been in a situation where you were the winning pitcher on back to back nights?
Koronis: I did that once back at Miami but both wins were vulcher wins out of the bullpen. Not in asituation where I was a starting pitcher in either game.
Now, how often does somebody playing a reporter get to have the star of the game follow him home and chat about the effort? What was working for you tonight?
Koronis: It was one of those nights where I had things working, it felt effortless all game. My fastball had some good zip and the off speed was working and I was throwing it for strikes. My flow carried over from last night and I love pitching in the big games like the playoffs.
Next question- Where you done or could you have continued?
Koronis: Your pumped up and your body tells you that you can keep pitching and I wanted to go one more inning but our coaches really know what is best. Skip said it was time to come out because I had pitched the night before.
After the one-two punch of Thursday/ Friday when will you be able to go back out there?
Koronis: I should be ready to do it again in five days...
Five Days would be next Wednesday- either Game 3 or 4 of the Championship series if the Wranglers advance past Staunton...
The play of the game slipped just a bit over the final innings as both teams struggled with their gloves and throws. The error count was 7 between the teams and Staunton rallied long enough to send the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth inning. Casey Sedley came to the plate with the score 6-3 and two Braves on the base paths but Bocock went to the pen one more time and Andrew Salgueiro (South Florida) recorded the 12TH and final strike out of the game to give Luray a 1-0 series lead.
Al Samuels was at Bulldog Field and covered the game for the Staunton News-Leader. You can check out his work at http://www.newsleader.com/ ...
In the other Semi-Final :
Covington remained UN-beaten in the playoffs and swiped the home field advantage when the Lumberjacks marched into Kate Collins Field and did the darn near impossible, defeat the Generals at home. ATV-60 friend G-S-G-Mike will have his game recap up soon on our side and I look forward to reading it later.
Here is how the playoffs look from here out:
If both Covington and Luray were to win on Saturday night they would advance to play for the VBL crown and the Best 3 of 5 series would start Sunday night and last no later than Thursday August 7TH.
If either Waynesboro or Staunton win tomorrow a third and deciding game would be played in that series on Sunday night. The Championship series would then begin and the park of the highest/best seed remaining. A HUGE advantage would go to the team that gets to rest up and save their staff on Sunday if the other series goes the full 3 games..
Once again the seeding goes as follows: