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Rams slip past Eagles

By Dennis Atwood - sports@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- In the consolation game of the Ram Hardball Classic, rescheduled from March 24 because of rain, Ryan Smoot's walk-off single gave Strasburg a 9-8 win over East Rockingham on Saturday night at First Bank Park.

It was a wild and wacky affair, with five of the Rams runs being unearned. The Eagles made six errors and left 11 runners on base, while the Rams left seven on base and issued four walks in the top of the seventh to walk in the go-ahead eighth run for East Rockingham.

Strasburg had 11 hits, but managed only four hits in an 8-1 loss to Clarke County on Friday night.

"Obviously, it was a bounce-back game for us, after last night, and I think we were happy to see our kids respond, not just to a disappointing loss, but a game where we didn't play very well, either," Rams coach Jeff Smoot said. "It wasn't always real pretty out there, but that's what you're going to get some of, in a non-[district] game, especially one coming in the middle of your [district] schedule."

With the score tied 7-7 going into the top of the seventh inning, Strasburg relief pitcher Tyler Doman had trouble finding the strike zone and issued three walks, with a sacrifice bunt mixed in, to load the bases with one out.

Doman dodged a bullet by inducing Shannon Cross to ground into a fielder's choice, getting Riley Hensley out at the plate.

But Doman then issued his fourth walk of the inning, to Ryan Kite, forcing Ryan Dovel across the plate with the go-ahead eighth run.

Jake Dean flew out to right to end the Eagles' (8-4, 6-1 Shenandoah) seventh.

In the do-or-die bottom of the seventh for the Rams (6-5, 3-2 Bull Run), Aaron Doman reached first on an error by third baseman Dovel, then was thrown out on a fielder's choice off the bat of Ryan Murphy.

Hunter Funk then hit into fielder's choice. Brad Hough entered as a pinch runner for Murphy.

Down to their last out, Strasburg stayed alive on designated hitter Jalen Doman's single to left, advancing Hough to third, while Doman made it to second base on the throw-in.

Next up, Tyler Doman bashed a ground ball toward Dovel, who threw high to first base. Tyler Doman was called safe, and got the game-tying RBI as Hough crossed the plate to tie the game.

Ryan Smoot worked Eagles' pitcher Chase Comer to a 3-2 count before stroking a solid liner up the middle, scoring Jalen Doman with the winning run on a walk-off single.

Jalen Doman, a senior, was 3-for-4 at the plate (double, two singles), scoring two runs, and as the DH, got to watch a lot of the game from the dugout.

"It was really erratic and I was uptight and really nervous, just hoping our team could do what we did at the end -- just put together some at bats, get some base hits and come out with a win," Jalen Doman said. "If we can come away as a team with games like this, that are ragged and not always going our way, then that helps us feel a lot better when it comes to real close games."

Freshman Ryan Smoot also had a big night at the plate, going 4-for-5, all singles, and scored two runs as well as knocking in the game-winning run.

Cross went 2-for-4 with two RBI's and a run scored, and Dovel went 2-for-2 and had three runs scored for the Eagles.

Rams starting pitcher Mark Smoot worked five innings, gave up seven runs (all earned) on nine hits, five strikeouts, three walks, two hit batsmen, and two wild pitches and left with the score tied 7-7.

Although he gave up four walks, Strasburg reliever Tyler Doman gave up no hits and one run in two innings of work and picked up the win.

Although the Eagles' roster is dominated by underclassmen, with five sophomores and six freshmen along with two seniors and one junior, they had a seven game winning streak before losing to Stuarts Draft, 7-6, on Friday night.

"The kids played as hard as they can play, and hopefully we can get better," Eagles coach Dave Scott said. "Not a clean baseball game. We can play better, and hopefully we can learn from it."

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