Rams trounce Generals
STRASBURG — Strasburg’s Noah St. Clair went down 0-2 in the pitch count on each of his first three at-bats Wednesday night, but he had Stonewall Jackson pitchers right where he wanted them.
St. Clair, who turned 18 on Wednesday, had a big night at the plate to help the Rams to a 16-0 non-district victory over the Generals. The game was stopped in the fifth due to the mercy rule.
St. Clair battled with two strikes in his first three at-bats and turned them into two singles and a double with three RBIs.
“Last couple years with two strikes, it just feels really comfortable for me to be in that position,” St. Clair said. “I try to widen my stance, and set dead red on something and hope it comes.”
St. Clair finished the game 4 for 4, but his biggest hit came in the bottom of the third inning. With the bases loaded and the Rams up 7-0, St. Clair drilled a pitch down the third-base line to left field for a three-run double. St. Clair went to third on a throw to home plate.
“That felt nice,” St. Clair said. “I had two strikes on me and I was sitting and waiting on that pitch. He threw it, and I just swung the bat and got hold of one.”
St. Clair wasn’t the only that came through with two strikes. The Rams were able to get quite a few of their hits with two strikes during the win.
“We were very good in that area,” Strasburg coach Jeff Smoot said of hitting with two strikes. “It’s something that we try to emphasize with our kids, and they were pretty good at it.”
The Rams (1-0) had 14 hits, and 10 different batters reached base during the victory.
Strasburg pitcher Mark Smoot pitched three innings, allowing only four hits and striking out five. He gave up two walks, and the Generals were able to take him deep into the count. However, he was able to pitch his way out of some jams. The Generals stranded four runners in the first three innings.
“Mark, obviously, went into too many deep counts, but what he also did was make a pitch every time he needed to,” Jeff Smoot said. “We would like and he would like, I think, to be a little more efficient, but he really did make a pitch every time he needed to make one.”
Strasburg sophomores Cory Clinedinst and Adam Miller each pitched an inning of relief.
It was the second game of the season for Stonewall Jackson, which had only two hits in a loss to Central earlier this week. Stonewall Jackson coach Mike Lenox said he saw some signs of improvement offensively.
“Smoot’s a good pitcher,” Lenox said. “I feel like we worked him quite well. We got his pitch count up quite high. We just didn’t capitalize when we had runners on.”
Lenox said he was also pleased with starting pitcher Cole Holsinger. The sophomore went 2.1 innings, allowing eight hits and striking out two against a solid Strasburg squad.
The Generals (0-2) have a very young team, and Lenox said the players have a good attitude.
“They want to learn. They want to work hard. That’s all I can ask,” Lenox said. “I had three freshmen, four sophomores played. They’re going to have major roles every game. It’s just a growing pain.”
Ryan Smoot went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Rams. Strasburg advanced to the Group 2A state final last year, and the Rams have some experience back fro that squad which should help them this season.
St. Clair said it was a good way to begin the season.
“The whole team did really well,” St. Clair said. “Everybody came out and swung the bat very well for our home opener. It was nice.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com