By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Collin Cook had the best strikeout of his career Friday night.
The Strasburg senior struck out in the second inning, but a dropped third strike led to a three-base error and scored two runs to help the Rams beat Central, 6-4, in Bull Run District action.
With runners on second and third and the Rams trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Cook struck out, but Central catcher Kaleb Orndorff dropped the ball. Orndorff then overthrew first baseman Ryan Rodriguez and the ball went into right field, scoring two runs and putting the Rams up 4-3.
"I just tried to stay in the baseline, and do the best I could to get to first," Cook said of the play.
Cook ended up on third on the play. The play was set up by a walk by Ryan Smoot and a Todd Dean double.
"We just made too many mistakes," Central coach Donn Foltz said. "You can't make that many mistakes against a good team like them."
The Falcons finished with three errors in the game, and all were costly.
Strasburg took a 2-0 lead in the first. Smoot drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a single by Tyler Hott. Cook had an RBI single to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Aaron Doman reached on an error, which scored Hott for a 2-0 lead.
Central got a run in the third off of Doman. Sean Semones drew a one-out walk and then stole second. Doman struck out Eric Semones. He then intentionally walked Hayden Bauserman and walked Rodriguez to load the bases. Orndorff drew a walk to cut the lead to 2-1, but John Plunkett flied out to end the inning.
Doman said he didn't have his best stuff, but he just tried to battle out on the mound and trust his defense.
"The guys behind me made the plays when we needed them," Doman said. "Whenever I would make a bad pitch, I just tried to stay focused and concentrate -- just try to take it one pitch at a time."
Central (6-7, 1-6 Bull Run) finally took the lead in the top of the fifth. Sean Semones reached on an error. One out later, Bauserman drew a walk. After Rodriguez popped out, Orndorff reached on an infield single to load the bases. Plunkett followed with a two-run single to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead.
After scoring the two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Rams added two more in the sixth on RBI singles by Dean and Hott. Central added a run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Rodriguez.
Plunkett pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out four with three walks for the Falcons. Central didn't have any players with multiple hits, but Sean Semones drew two walks and reached on an error, and Bauserman drew two walks and had a single.
It was the sixth district loss for the Falcons, but five of them have come by a combined seven runs.
"All of our district losses have been like this," Foltz said. "We just have to keep working hard."
Doman went six innings for the Rams. He allowed only four hits and struck out five, but walked seven in picking up the win. Dean and Hott each had two hits and an RBI to lead the Rams.
The Rams (8-5, 5-2 Bull Run) have bounced back from a disappointing loss to Clarke County last week with two solid wins against George Mason and Central. Of course, a win over the county-rival Falcons is always extra special for the Rams.
"It feels pretty good," Doman said. "It's always a big win when you can beat Central. Against Clarke County we didn't feel like we played anywhere close to the way we were capable of playing. To beat George Mason against their ace and then come right back and beat Central is a good feeling."