Express hold off rally to improve to 5-1

Strasburg's Bradley Dixon sprints back to first base as Purcellville's shortstop Paul Cabrera looks for someone to help cover the base after Dixon tried to squeeze an extra base out of a fourth inning single Thursday night in Strasburg. Dixon was safe at first and drove in two runs with the single. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — The Strasburg Express has picked up right where it left off last season.

The defending Valley Baseball League champions moved to 5-1 on Thursday with a 7-6 victory over Purcellville.

The Express took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Bradley Dixon and a groundout RBI by Erick Delgaldo.

The Cannons tied the game in the top of the third on a fielder’s choice and a Strasburg error.

The Express took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Strasburg’s Michael Curry doubled after Dylan Ingram was hit by a pitch. Dixon followed with a two-run single to put the Express up 4-2.

Strasburg Express shortstop Tyler Halas bends down to put the tag on Purcellville's Tommy Ziegen during the second inning of a game last season in Strasburg. Halas is one of five players who returned to the Express at the start of the 2017 season. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Express added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Strasburg’s Carter Pharis singled and Ingram followed with an RBI double for a 7-3 lead.

Strasburg starting pitcher Jared Silva struggled with his command in the first inning, but settled down and pitched five solid innings to get the win. Silva struck out four.

The Express appeared to have the game in control, but the Cannons made a fierce rally in the top of the ninth.

Purcellville’s Jarrrett Clymer drew a lead-off walk and Deaires Moses followed with an infield single. Strasburg reliever Rhett Harper then struck out back-to-back batters to move the Express within one out of a victory.

Purcellville’s Joe Champi cut the lead to 7-3 on a two-run double. Ray Hernandez then drew a walk from Harper and Onassis Moses followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to 7-6.

Strasburg's Tyler Halas slides into second base to try and break up a double play ball as Purcellville's second baseman Tommy Ziegen makes a throw and shortstop Raul Cabrera looks on during Thursday night's game in Strasburg. Strasburg's Carter Pharis hit the infield grounder and beat Ziegen's throw to first. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg associate head coach Butch Barnes then brought in reliever Abe Almonte, who struck out Tommy Ziegen to end the game.

There were a combined nine errors in the game. The Express pounded out 10 hits.

The Cannons were led by Moses with three hits. Strasburg’s Tyler Halas, Pharis and Dixon each had two hits for the Express.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or

Purcellville's third baseman Ray Hernandez tags out Strasburg's Tyler Halas after Halas got caught in a run down between third and home during third inning action Thursday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg's Donovan May prepares to slide into second base as Purcellville's shortstop Raul Cabrera makes the force out at second during third inning action Thursday night in Strasburg. Strasburg's Tyler Halas hit the infield grounder and beat the throw to first. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg's Michael Curry, left, is congratulated by Erick Delgado after Curry scored in the second inning Thursday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg shortstop Tyler Halas drops the ball as he was preparing to turn a double play against Purcellville on June 9. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg Express pitcher Jared Silva fires a pitch during Thursday night's game against the Purcellville Cannons. Rich Cooley/Daily