Valley Baseball League... The Savage Harrisonburg Turks
The Harrisonburg Turks are holding on to 1 st place in the Valley Baseball League by a thread thinner than the straw that broke the camels back. They say the secret to that mystery was in the million other straws underneath it, and the Turks have many of those straws in their 2010 summer roster. Currently, they are tied for 1 st place with the Winchester Royals, and the constant pressure to not give up a single game to each other is becoming the story in the Valley Baseball League. Neither of the two teams carries the league in pitching or hitting, they simply find ways to win games. Harrisonburg has lost their last two games, one game to the Winchester Royals and the other to the Haymarket Senators. But, when the Turks are electrified and winning ball games, one of their biggest contributors is a freshman named Patrick Savage. He currently leads the team with a line of .359/.417/.531 after 64 at bats. His 6’2 215lbs frame has been scouted since at least 2009 where they considered him a hitter with “big time power potential to all field”. Last spring he was at Auburn where he was limited to only 9 at bats, he had 3 hits including a solo homerun and 2 runs scored.
The Turks also feature Connor Winn, a sophomore infielder who’s hitting .340 and leads the team with .435 on base percentage after 53 at bats. He spent last spring at Georgia Tech, and he proved he had something to offer by hitting .294 after a pressure packed 17 at bats. He hit 2 homeruns and drove in 17 runs in the process; he’s hoping that next year as a senior his patience will pay off with more playing time and another run at the regional. The power bat on the Turks roster is a sophomore outfielder named Shaun Cooper. He leads the team with 5 homeruns, 16 RBI’s, and a slugging percentage of .537. Little things like getting hit by pitches may not be considered the same as a patient and disciplined walk, but the results can be the same for a team desperate for runners. He leads the team in being hit by pitches 3 times this summer after 67 at bats. At Pima Community College this past spring, he sparked attention by hitting .330, with 4 homeruns, and 44 RBI’s. It was enough for the Arizona Wildcats to embrace him for next years’ season, and Cooper’s commitment will put him in the ever expanding PAC-10, or 12.
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The starting rotation has nobody shining like an exploding light emitting star at this point, but from the bullpen the Turks are enjoying the arm of Stephen Styck. Styck has a record of 2-2, 2.70 after 23.1 innings. Each one of his eight appearances have come in relief and he’s posted 20 strikeouts, 2 saves, and opposing hitters have only .160 against him. His dominance is growing even though he struggled in a clutch outing against Winchester. Still, you can look for Styck to come in for 2 innings and shut down a team and strikeout 4. That’s the magic relief pitchers are born to do. It’s always brief, but the difficulty in closing out an inning after inheriting a bases loaded situation should always be respected. The Harrisonburg Turks have two games left in the month of June, and with only another month left to play, the Turks will have to reach deep to hold off Cory Spangenberg, Charles Steinman and the Winchester Royals.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer