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Posted August 4, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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New Market strikes first, beats Luray

By Jerry Holsworth -- sports@nvdaily.com

LURAY -- It took four double plays, three pitchers and 11 innings, but New Market finally overcame Luray, 5-4, on Monday in the quarterfinals of the Valley Baseball League playoffs.

"We couldn't put them away in the ninth inning; we just didn't let that get us down," New Market manager Lucas Jones said. "We always have tough games when we play these guys. It's always very emotional. We faced a lot of adversity tonight, but we found a way to overcome it."

The win puts the sixth-seeded Rebels one game up on the third-seeded Wranglers, with Game 2 today at New Market. The Rebels can advance to the semifinals with a win in Game 2 or Game 3.

Matt Townsend got the game-winner for the Rebels, launching a leadoff home run over the leftfield fence in the top of the 11th.

"Townsend had been seeing the ball real well all night," Jones said. "He came to the plate looking for a pitch, and when he got it, he drove it out of the park."

Reliever Brian Burgess, despite a shaky ninth inning, and starter Eric Alessio, combined to keep the Luray bats off-balance all night.

Alessio went seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits. He struck out two and walked five. The Marist senior, however, got a lot of help from his defense. The Rebels registered four double plays, including three that ended serious threats from the Wranglers.

Burgess pitched three innings and gave up two runs on two hits while striking out two and walking two.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth, it looked like the Rebels were going to coast to victory. But Jake Wilson led off the ninth inning with a double for the Wranglers, and Alex Haitsuka reached first on an error that scored Wilson and trimmed the deficit to one run.

Haitsuka scored the equalizer on a single by pinch-hitter Tyler Truxell.

Tyler Sanders took the loss for Luray in relief, allowing only Townsend's home run through two innings on the mound.

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