By Brad Fauber
WOODSTOCK -- Central knew that it was going to have to be at its best if it hoped to come out on top against rival Strasburg on Friday night in an important Bull Run District baseball matchup, and the Falcons did just that.
Central was outstanding in nearly every aspect of the game, and the Falcons handed the visiting Rams a 7-3 loss that brings both teams into a tie for second place in the district standings.
"I told them before the game that we had to do all of the little things, and I think that we did all of the little things," Falcons coach Donn Foltz said. "We got a lot of good bunts down, did some good base running. Against [Strasburg] you have to do all of the little things and hope that they don't."
Foltz said that Central (12-5, 8-3 Bull Run) has had trouble swinging the bats this season, but that wasn't the case on Friday against Strasburg (13-3, 8-3) ace Tyler Hott. The Falcons scored all seven of their runs during Hott's four innings of work on 10 hits.
The Falcons also received another strong pitching performance from junior Hayden Bauserman, who pitched a complete game while allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. Bauserman also struck out 10.
"He did well, and I always give credit to his catcher [Zach Herbaugh] behind the dish," Foltz said. "We played great defense behind him, and when you get leads it helps too."
The Rams were the first to strike on the scoreboard, as Ryan Murphy's RBI groundout in the top of the first inning gave Strasburg a 1-0 lead.
That lead didn't last long, however, as Central took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning when John Plunkett (2-for-3, three RBIs) crushed a two-RBI triple to right-center.
The Falcons added three more runs in the bottom of the third, as Herbaugh and Brady Baker added RBI singles, and Plunkett scored on a wild pitch to give the Falcons a 4-1 lead.
Central capped its scoring in the bottom of the fourth, as Plunkett had an RBI single in the inning and later came around to score on a Rams fielding error.
"They out-pitched us, they out-hit us, they were better than we were defensively -- they really were just better in every aspect of the game," Rams coach Jeff Smoot said. "We just got whupped."
The Rams managed two more runs off Bauserman in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Ian Baker and sacrifice fly by Tyler Doman.
Central has two more big district games next week, including a home game against district leader William Monroe on Tuesday, but the Falcons will take the weekend to enjoy Friday night's victory over their bitter rivals.
"[Strasburg] is a great program and when you get a win against them, you've just got to savor it," Foltz said. "It doesn't happen often -- it hasn't happened often in my career."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org