Winchester Royals lose third straight to Harrisonburg Turks, 16-5
WINCHESTER – The offensive struggles and pitching woes continued at Bridgeforth Field on Thursday night as the Winchester Royals dropped its third straight game to start the season against the Harrisonburg Turks, 16-4.
“What happened was we didn't execute pitches,” Royals manager Jacob Mays said. "We knew a little bit more about their team this time. We tried to pitch differently.”
Starting pitcher Hank Biggs (Mary Washington) lasted just three innings and was charged with four runs on seven hits while issuing two walks.
"I just didn't get the job done. I didn't work ahead; I was behind in counts basically the whole night. I left the ball up a lot. It just wasn't my day,” Biggs said.
Harrisonburg started the game with a pair of runs off of Biggs, including a solo shot from Paul Castillo (Eastern Florida State College) on the sixth pitch of the game.
"I just missed a spot. We had thrown a changeup already and he swung through it and missed it. I went right back to it and left it up a little bit,” Biggs said.
Trailing 4-0 in the third, Turks starter Joseph Mannelly (Georgia Tech) loaded the bases when he hit two batters and walked another to start the inning. The next batter, Jordan Huntley (Mount Olive College), grounded into a double play and it seemed the Royals would end the frame empty handed.
However, a passed ball and wild pitch brought home two runs to cut Harrisonburg’s lead in half. Still, the offense was unable to take advantage of a golden opportunity to potentially tie the game.
"Guys just trying to do too much at the plate. We've got very long swings right now. We've got guys trying to hit home runs every time they swing,” Mays said. “In situations like that, they need to shorten swings up and they are getting fastballs blown by them.”
Colt Webb (Potomac State College) entered in the fourth and surrendered an RBI single to Caleb Walls (Pasco Hernando Community College) to stretch the lead to 5-2. William Welsh (Lancaster Bible College) and Chris Salvey (Lincoln Memorial University) each laced two-out RBI singles in the fifth to make it a one-run game heading into the sixth.
In the sixth, Winchester put the tying run at second base with one out and the heart of the lineup due up. Joseph Sadallah (Mercy College) and Huntley both went down swinging to end the inning.
That momentum shift opened the door for a seven-run seventh inning from the Turks, highlighted by a three-RBI double from Walls.
"Right there (the sixth inning) was pretty much that moment. We maybe move the runners over or maybe get a hit, it's a tie game; everybody cleans it up there,” Sadallah said. “After that, it kind of fell apart."
Huntley (0-for-4, 3 K) and Salvey (1-for-5, RBI, 3 K) are among the offensive weapons who have endured slow starts to the season. Huntley has yet to register a hit while Salvey’s batting average decreased to .154 after tonight.
"They are trying to do too much instead of just playing within their game," Mays said.
Sadallah (1-for-2, BB, 2 R), on the other hand, is hitting .400 and swiped three bags in tonight’s effort.
"He came out here and competed. That's what I'm looking for is guys who are going to compete for nine innings," Mays said.
Webb pitched 3.1 innings and recorded six strikeouts while allowing two earned runs on five hits.
"That was great to see from Colt (Webb). His first outing he had was a little rough, we moved him to the 'pen,” Mays said. “That's encouraging moving forward"
The Royals (0-3) travel to Bing Crosby Stadium to take on the Front Royal Cardinals (3-1) on Friday. First pitch is at 7 p.m.