By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STRASBURG -- Garrett Richards made the most of his first career pitching start on Thursday night.
The Strasburg senior threw a one-hitter as the Rams powered past Manassas Park, 13-0, in Bull Run District baseball action at First Bank Park. The game was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Richards didn't allow a hit through the first four innings, and said he felt confident as he went back out for the top of the fifth.
"My arm was feeling pretty good," Richards said. "I was pumped."
Richards walked Ethan Gaines to start the inning, and then gave up a single to pinch-hitter Michael Zurn. An error helped load the bases with no outs, but Richards battled back to get out of the jam and end the game.
"I just had to forget about it and just go from pitch to pitch," Richards said of the almost no-hitter.
Richards struck out nine and also picked off two baserunners in his one-hitter.
Strasburg coach Jeff Smoot said he was not surprised by Richards' performance on the mound.
"He pitched very, very well," Smoot said. "He understands how to pitch. He understands how to control the running game. He's very poised out there. So, that's not really a surprise to us. We thought he would pitch well."
The Rams (6-1, 4-1 Bull Run) gave Richards plenty of run support. Strasburg scored seven runs in the first inning, sending 13 batters to the plate.
Ryan Murphy led off with a walk against Manassas Park starter Cory Jenkins, and Noah St. Clair drew a walk. Ian Baker followed with an RBI single. Evan Snapp then drilled a 2-2 pitch over the left-field fence for a 4-0 lead.
"I was just trying to get a good pitch," Snapp said. "I battled up there. It was a 2-2 count and I knew a fastball was coming up. I just tried to square it up, and good things happen when you square it up."
Ryan and Mark Smoot and Ian Butler each drew a walk to load the bases with one out, which forced Manassas Park to bring in reliever Jordan Rodriguez. An error scored Ryan and Mark Smoot to extend the lead to 6-0. Two more walks helped bring in another run in the first inning.
"I thought we had a lot of good at-bats," Jeff Smoot said. "I thought we were patient. I thought our hitters commanded the strike zone well."
Snapp, who transferred from Clarke County this season, said this was the best he felt at the plate. The senior had three hits and three RBIs for the Rams.
"I think this game might have been the first game that I've really felt relaxed and 100 percent comfortable playing," Snapp said. "I just knew today was going to be a good day when I stepped on the field."
Baker had two hits and two RBIs for the Rams, and Murphy had a single and two RBIs.
Snapp will get a chance to play against his former team tonight when Strasburg hosts Clarke County in a Bull Run District contest.
"I'm excited. It's going to be interesting," Snapp said of playing Clarke County. "They've got a pretty good team this year. I know a lot of the guys on that team, so it's going to be a family reunion almost. I'm just excited to see who can battle the most and win the game."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org