Late night heroics lift Wranglers into VBL Championship for third straight season: Wranglers advance with 6-5 victory over Staunton

By: Scoop Carter
ATV-60 Correspondent

STAUNTON-Luray punched their ticket to a third straight berth in the VBL Championship Series in dramatic fashion Saturday night as they plated 2 runs in the ninth inning to edge Staunton 6-5 at Gypsy Hill Park. The finals will get under way back in Luray on Sunday evening when the Covington Lumberjacks invade Bulldog Field. Covington advanced as well by defeating the top seeded Waynesboro Generals 6-0 at Casey Field.

All 11 runs for the contest came in just three half innings with Luray striking first. Adam McClain (Memphis) capped a 4 run first inning with a 3 run home run to left field. The big early lead allowed Andrew Armstrong (Ohio State) to attack the Braves hitters and he did with a great deal of success.

The Turner Ashby product carried the 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth but he would not escape the inning. By the time Kyle Cichy (Virginia Tech) would record the third out of the inning the home team had plated five runs to take a 5-4 lead over the Wranglers. The big hit in the inning was once again a home run with this one being hit by Josh Wenderoth with Steven Branca on base.

While Armstrong was not able to finish his rough inning, Braves starter Adam Hoyt found a grove after McClains dinger. Hoyt posted a string of zeros until departing in the seventh inning with his team holding a 5-4 lead. Braves closer Josh Squatrito would try and force a game three back in Luray but he would run into trouble in the top of the ninth.

The big difference in the Wranglers this season is their ability to beat you with a trifecta of weapons. Playing long ball, smothering pitching and when they need to- play some small ball. Jordan Yost started the rally with a single and manager Mike Bocock sent Josh Wright (Old Dominion) in as a pinch runner. Bocock had Austin Markle attempting to bun Wright over to second but a disciplined at bat from Markel earned the Mountaineer a walk. Wright made it to second the easy way and then both runners advanced on a sac bunt from Cory Johnson.

Trailing by 1 run but with two runners in scoring position, Luray sent Alex Foltz to the plate. All Foltz needed to do was put the ball in play to tie the game and he did just that. Foltz sent a slow roller to the short stop and Wright touched the plate to score a manufactured run if there ever was one. After a walk to C.J Lauriello put runners on the corners for the visitors, Ryan Schimpf sent a towering fly ball to short right field that fell UN-touched between the first baseman and the right fielder.

Markel was running on the play with two outs and scored easily but the inning ended when Lauriello was tagged out at the plate trying to follow Markel home. Luray led 6-5 and Bocock sent Drew Rucinski (Ohio State) to the mound in search of the final three outs. Rucinski fanned the first two batters before allowing an infield single but the righty quickly closed the win when Donavan Huffer grounded out into a 6-4 fielders choice.

The Wranglers won the crown in 2006 before falling to Waynesboro 3 games to 1 in the 2007 finals. Bocock will send VMI's Travis Smink to the mound Sunday night as Luray looks to make it 5 straight over Covington after sweeping the regular season series 4-0...

I spent about 10 minutes with the trio of folks responsible for the 2008 Wranglers roster (Bill Turner, Mike Bocock and Gerald "Buck Harman". Instead of trying to pick a quote or two I will post the entire talk later today.

Al Samuels covered the game for the Staunton News-Leader and you can check out his work at http://www.newsleader.com/ . My box score is listed further down the blog.


Wranglers 6, Braves 5

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

LUR

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

6

8

1

STA

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

0

5

10

1



WP-Kyle Cichy (Entered in 5TH)
LP-Josh Squatrito (Entered in 7TH)
Save- Drew Rucinski (Entered in 9TH)

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