By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STRASBURG -- Tyler Doman was in the zone.
The Strasburg senior threw a complete game one-hitter to help lead the Rams to a 1-0 Bull Run District victory over William Monroe on Friday night at First Bank Park.
"I felt great," Doman said after his dominant performance. "I don't know if my arm's ever felt that good before. I wasn't really thinking, it was just coming to me naturally. It's amazing."
Doman struck out nine and had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. He also had the help of a solid Strasburg defense.
In the top of the first, William Monroe's Trey Lam drew a walk, and eventually went to second on a throwing error.
One out later, Keegan Woolford flied out to right field. Strasburg's Nathan Butler threw a bullet to short, where Lam was tagged out on his way to third.
"That was huge," Doman said.
The Dragons (13-2, 9-2 Bull Run) turned a double play of their own in the bottom of the first. Noah St. Clair led off with a double, and Ryan Murphy drew a walk. Evan Snapp then hit into a double play, which left Murphy standing on second.
Ian Baker followed with an RBI single to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
"I was just looking to get my pitch right there and do whatever I could with it," Baker said. "Their pitchers, they throw strikes, you know that they're going to be good. I was just looking for that perfect pitch and I got it."
"I do think after we hit into the double play, to come back at that point, and still get a two-out base hit to score a run -- that was a really big play in the game," Strasburg coach Jeff Smoot said.
The one run was more than enough for Doman. The hurler didn't allow a runner past second until the sixth inning.
"My curveball was working," Doman said. "I could throw it for strikes and strikeouts, and I located pretty well."
Doman had the no-hitter going into the sixth, and said he tried not to think about it and just focus on throwing strikes.
In the top of the sixth, R.J. Payne drew a walk, and Trey Lam hit into a fielder's choice. Doman struck out Anthony Pritchett, but then yielded a single to Woolford, which put runners at the corners.
Doman then struck out Jeff Early to get out of the jam.
"That strikeout was huge," Doman said. "With first and third I was kind of expecting some kind of trick play, a break early or something, but they didn't do it."
Smoot said he was very pleased with the way Doman pitched.
"He, obviously, was outstanding," Smoot said. "His breaking ball, particularly, was what we were living off of. And he was able to command in and out of the strike zone, to be very honest. He was just pretty doggone good."
The win was the first for the Rams over the Dragons in recent memory, and the players were happy to finally beat them.
"This is our first time," Doman said. "I think we've built up a pretty big rivalry with them -- competitive. We know its going to be a close when we go to play them, and they know its going to be a close game when they come to play us. It feels great."
"Every year we always came up short against them, but this time we knew that we were good enough to win," Baker said. "We just had to believe in ourselves, and that's what we did."
The Rams (11-1, 10-1) had only two hits in the game, as the combination of pitchers Dustin Knight and Austin Batten made things tough on the Rams.
The win moved the Rams into first place in the Bull Run District in the loss column. William Monroe has played two more games than the Rams.
Strasburg has won nine in a row since losing to the Dragons, 4-0, on April 1.
"We feel like we can go pretty far this season," Baker said. "We feel like we've got a good team all the way around. Offensively, defensively, we have a great pitching rotation that just always throws strikes and gets the job done."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd