Rams lead game halted by weather

BERRYVILLE — Strasburg softball coach Suzanne Mathias has been looking for her team to get a quality win and the Rams got it last week against Clarke County. On Monday night, the Rams were on the verge of doing it again in the Bull Run District tournament quarterfinals.

The Rams led 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth when the game was suspended after a rainstorm came through Berryville. The game will be picked up Tuesday at Madison County at 5 p.m. The winner of the game will then face Madison County at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.

“We were playing pretty well,” Mathias said. “Taking advantage of their mistakes and putting runs on the board, and just playing pretty good all the way around. So, it’s frustrating to be in a rain delay.”

The Rams beat Clarke County, 8-7, on May 12. Strasburg is the fifth seed, and the Eagles are the fourth seed.

Strasburg took the lead in the top of the first. Junior Carey Scott and sophomore Cortney McDonald had back-to-back singles. A sacrifice fly by Megan Emswiler scored Scott, and two batters later a sacrifice fly by Nikki Killen scored McDonald and made it 2-0.

Clarke County cut the lead to 2-1 on a solo home run by Allie Hicks off Strasburg starting pitcher Scott.

The Rams (10-9) added two more in the top of the third. Scott singled and went to second on a throwing error, but was later thrown out at home on a bunt single by McDonald. Emswiler reached on an error, and a two-base error on a ball hit by Olivia Gochenour scored two runs.

“The last three games the top of the lineup’s really come through, and got the runs in and did their job,” Mathias said.

The Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Rams answered with a run in the top of the fifth for a 5-2 lead. Emily Alexander had an RBI single to give the Rams a three-run cushion.

Scott only allowed three hits in the first four innings, and struck out four, but ran into a little trouble in the fifth.

“She was throwing well. She kept them off balance there, the first four innings,” Mathias said. “They were starting to make a little contact there in the fifth, but for the most part she was controlling it and doing really well.”

Clarke County’s Jade Feltner led off with a double, and Morgan Withers followed with a double to cut the lead to 5-3. Jamie Hoggatt singled, and eventually stole second.

With no outs, Strasburg’s defense came up with a big play. Clarke County’s Chelsea Trenary hit a grounder to Strasburg third baseman Olivia Gochenour, who threw to first baseman Katie Smoot. Withers attempted to come home after the throw to first was made, but Smoot’s throw to Strasburg catcher Nikki Killen was in time for the double play.

“That was huge,” Mathias said. “Just staying focused and being alert, and that’s what we did. I was pleased with that.”

Right after the play, a loud roar of thunder was heard and the game was delayed, before eventually being suspended. When the game resumes, Clarke County will have two outs with Hoggatt on third and Haley Haun at the plate.

The Rams, who will be the fourth seed and host a quarterfinal game in next week’s Conference 35 tournament, had seven hits in the first five innings. The Eagles had five errors.

Mathias said the win last week over Clarke County certainly helped her team’s confidence.

“That’s what I’ve been telling them. We’ve got to get over that hump and get a good win,” Mathias said. “They saw that they can compete, and coming out this evening they saw that they can compete again and take charge and be in the lead.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com