Rams’ Schlag finds her groove at the plate
By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STRASBURG — It’s safe to say Lexi Schlag found her swing last week.
The Strasburg sophomore started the season off struggling at the plate, and had a talk with some of her coaches, which paid big dividends for the Rams.
“[Last week] started off with just getting her confidence up,” Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said of Schlag. “We talked to her one on one about that, and adjusting her swing a little bit. It paid off.”
Did it ever. Schlag entered last week with only five hits on the season, and she more than doubled that in three games for the Rams last week.
Schlag went 11-for-17, including three triples, two doubles and a home run. Schlag scored 10 runs in the three games, and had nine RBIs. She also hit for the cycle in a win against Manasass Park on Thursday.
For her impressive week, Schlag earned The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of April 14-20.
Schlag went 3-for-6 in a 24-0 win over Rappahannock County to start the week, but she was just getting started.
In the Rams’ second game of the week, they struggled early against Stonewall Jackson. The team needed a spark and Schlag gave it to them with her defense. She made a diving catch to end the fourth inning, and the team came to life offensively in a 17-7 victory.
“The ball was coming and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to get this,'” Schlag said of her catch. “I was like, ‘Well, ‘I’m going to dive.’ I was shocked.
“It really made me happy. I had a smile from ear-to-ear. Everybody was coming up to me, giving me high-fives.”
Schlag also produced at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Schlag saved her best for last as she had an even better game in a 28-1 victory over Manassas Park to end the week. She went 5-for-6 with four RBIs and five runs scored.
She also had her first home run of the season.
“I was shocked. I was like, ‘It went out,'” Schlag said of her homer. “It was crazy. I was happy. [Assistant] coach Frankie [Connor], he told me to extend my arms. I knew that as soon as I hit it, I felt that I did that, and it felt right.”
Mathias said she believes Schlag and Strasburg junior Nikki Killen are the only two players that have hit for the cycle during her time as coach.
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” Mathias said. “That’s a good feat for her.”
Schlag has batted mostly in the leadoff spot for the Rams this season, which is exactly where she wants to be.
“That was my goal — to be leadoff for my team,” Schlag said. “It’s good to be the first one that gets to see pitches. I like being the leadoff for my team and getting them pumped up — and have that mentality.”
Mathias said Schlag struggled early on with handling the pressure of the leadoff role, and she moved her back to the No. 2 spot. Last week she moved her back to the leadoff spot and it worked out well.
Schlag’s speed around the bases makes her a threat every time she gets on base.
“She’s very quick,” Mathias said. “She knows how to read the balls, and she can score runs for us. I need her on the bases.”
For the season, Schlag is now hitting .421 (16-for-38). She has nine RBIs and has scored 15 runs.
The Rams (5-5, 3-4 Bull Run) scored 69 runs as a team last week in three games.
Strasburg has a young team, with only three seniors and a combined six freshmen and sophomores, but Schlag said she believes the team can have a great season.
“I think we can go really far,” Schlag said. “I think we can shock a lot of people. We have a lot of ability, and we have a lot of talent.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd