By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- Count Strasburg baseball coach Jeff Smoot among those who are opposed to high school athletes specializing in one sport. He's seen the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete firsthand in senior pitcher/outfielder Tyler Doman.
Doman, who also competes in golf and basketball for Strasburg High School during the fall and winter seasons, exudes a certain confidence on the baseball field for the Rams, which Smoot considers a byproduct of Doman's experience outside of the diamond.
"He is experienced, obviously, in multiple sports and has played in multiple sports in the postseason, so the pressure factor -- we reap the rewards in baseball from him having been in some of those situations in other sports," Smoot said after a win over Warren County on Tuesday.
Doman very well could've been feeling some pressure in his start against Bull Run District rival William Monroe last Friday, but if he was, he wasn't about to show it.
In what was essentially a game for sole possession of the first place in the district, Doman, The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for April 27-May 3, hurled a complete game one-hitter to help vault the Rams to the top of the Bull Run with a 1-0 win.
"I knew it was a huge game before we went into it. I tried not to really think about it," Doman said. "I just tried to think about going in and throwing strikes and doing what I had to do."
The senior right-hander was untouchable for most of the game, as he struck out nine batters using a good combination of fastballs and curveballs. Doman carried a no-hitter into the top of the sixth inning, when William Monroe's Keegan Wolford finally broke up the bid with a two-out single.
"My curveball was definitely working for me. I could throw it for strikes and locate it however I needed to for a strikeout or whatever," said Doman, who also walked four in the win. "And I could put my fastball in places when I needed to, put a little more on it when I needed to, and take a little off if I had to. So everything was pretty good."
Strasburg catcher Ryan Smoot said Doman was as sharp as a pitcher could be against the Dragons.
"It was as dominant as you can get," Ryan Smoot said. "[William Monroe] offensively, especially at the top of the lineup, is one of the best in the district, and the way he was able to go out there and throw basically two pitches -- fastball and curveball -- with one hit, and that was a little chopper up the middle -- yeah, he was as close to dominant as you can get."
Doman, who has played at the varsity level for three seasons, entered the spring as one of the leaders of a very deep pitching staff for the Rams. Doman said he and junior left-hander Mark Smoot were excited about the chance to lead Strasburg on the mound this season, and their leadership has been instrumental to the Rams' pitching success.
Strasburg (12-1) has not allowed more than four runs in a game this season.
"We have eight pitchers and I feel like we're eight deep. If we have to put the eighth guy out there on the mound I feel like he'll get the job done," Doman said.
Aside from the obvious increase in his physical size and the velocity of his pitches over the last few seasons, Doman said he has worked hard to improve his mechanics on the mound. That has helped him better his control and create more movement on his pitches.
"From a pitching standpoint, he's got good stuff," Jeff Smoot said. "His breaking ball moves and his fastball's got a little hop on it. Most of the time when you run him out there he's got pretty good stuff. Not always pinpoint command, but his stuff is good enough to overcome it."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD