By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STRASBURG -- New Market manager C.J. Rhodes got exactly what he wanted from his team on Wednesday night.
The Rebels had solid pitching and timely hitting in a 6-4 Valley Baseball league victory over Strasburg.
"This was a big win for us," Rhodes said. "We're trying to make a big push for the playoffs. It's going to be exciting this last week-and-a-half."
Things didn't start off so well for the Rebels as they fell behind early. Strasburg scored two runs in the bottom of the second, thanks in part to New Market starting pitcher Bryan Carr.
Strasburg's Tyler McDonald drew a two-out walk and Tyler Asbill followed with an infield single. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Carr then walked Sky Overton and Kevin Baron to give Strasburg a 1-0 lead.
A balk by Carr scored Asbill to stretch the Express lead to 2-0.
New Market bounced back in the top of the fourth. Darion Carpenter was hit by a pitch from Strasburg starter Tom Durkin to start the inning. Tim Kiene followed with a double. One out later, Joe Chittester's RBI single cut the lead to 2-1. A sacrifice fly by Josh Mason tied the game.
In the top of the sixth New Market took the lead for good. Kiene led off with a double. Two outs later, a double by Mason gave the Rebels a 3-2 edge.
"I think we're getting into a routine now and guys are starting to get their timing down," Rhodes said.
After a rough start, Carr settled down and was very strong in the middle innings. Carr retired the last 10 batters he faced and gave New Market's offense a chance to come back and take the lead.
"Those last three innings is the best he's pitched all summer," Rhodes said. "That's a real testament to him. We would have loved to have sent back out there another inning, but his pitch count was high, probably 108, 110."
In the seventh, Rhodes turned to closer Joshua Falbo, who had been out of town and hadn't pitched in 10 days. Rhodes said he told Falbo that he would have to give them extended innings, and he handled it well.
Falbo pitched three innings for his fifth save, and outside of some trouble in the eighth, kept Strasburg at bay.
New Market (11-20) gave Falbo some cushion room in the top of the eighth. They batted around and scored three runs on three hits and two walks by Strasburg reliever Brandon Riddle.
Jason Smith had the big hit with a two-run single in the eighth.
The Express (15-18) made a threat in the bottom of the eighth as Teddy Payne led off with a double and moved to third on a passed ball. Joe Ravert and Dustin Woody each drew a walk. With two outs, McDonald drew a walk to cut the lead to 6-3, and Asbill followed with an RBI single. Falbo then struck out Overton to end the threat.
Strasburg had only five hits in the game. The Express were led by Asbill with two hits and an RBI, and Payne with a double and a single.
"You like to beat three bottom teams and spilt with the top three teams, but they're not a typical bottom three team. C.J. does a great job," Moore said. "It will be all right. We're in sixth now. If we can go 6-4, 7-3 the rest of the way we should be fine to make the playoffs. And once you get into the playoffs you never know what can happen."
The Rebels were led by Cody Acker, Kiene, Kerrigan and Chittester with two hits each.
Rhodes said he loved the way his team came back after being down early.
"This team has a lot of fight in them," Rhodes said. "I was proud of the way they fought back hard."