Strasburg falls to Madison County 18-11
STRASBURG – After almost four hours of a seven-inning game, Madison County finally got the best of homestanding Strasburg 18-11 Thursday night in the final round of the Conference 35 tournament.
The loss sends the Rams (14-8) to East Rockingham for the first round of the 2A East regional, while Madison County (12-9) will host Page County. Those games will take place Monday night.
The Rams, back-to-back conference champs, led for stages of the game, but could not hold the lead in a mistake-marred contest
In all, the teams combined for 23 hits, six errors, four hit batsmen, 20 walks and two wild pitches.
Just like Strasburg did Wednesday in the conference semifinals, the Rams jumped on Madison County starter Nick Littlehales for five runs in the bottom of the first.
Action was stopped due to rain showers at 7:50 p.m with Strasburg ahead 5-1. As the rain dissipated and a rainbow formed over First Bank Park, members of the Strasburg athletics department and the coaching staff freshened the field, a sign that the championship game would continue.
Play resumed at 8:20 p.m. and the Mountaineers answered with three more runs in their half of the third.
Nick Littlehales scored first for a 5-2 result.
Following a pitcher’s conference with Strasburg coach Jeff Smoot, the Rams made an error that got home Zach Adams. Then Eli Estes scored to make it 5-4.
Strasburg added a sixth run in the bottom of the third when Eric Reynolds walked and came around to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. Justin Rickard brought him home with a base hit to make it 6-4 Rams.
Madison added a run in its half of the fourth. Shane Aylor singled to right, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and came home on another single to right by Adams. It was 6-5.
Strasburg got started again in the bottom of the fourth. With one out Josh Pritchett slapped his second extra-base hit of the game following a first-inning homer to left. Pritchett doubled to right field. Reynolds was hit-by-pitch. Then Brian Scholten slammed his second extra-base knock with a triple to right. That brought home Pritchett and Reynolds. Scholten scored on an error.
After four complete it was 9-5 Strasburg.
Madison County came right back in the top half of the fifth.
Isiah Smith started off the inning being hit by a pitch and then stole second. Chris Smith walked and then Estes bunted safely to load the bases. Nic Smith unloaded a double to centerfield. On the play an error was made to score three runs. Littlehales then sacrificed in a fourth run for the 9-9 tie after four-and-a-half.
Madison got busy again in the top of the sixth with five runs on three hits and a Strasburg error to make it 14-9 Mountaineers.
The visitors continued scoring in the top of the seventh, when they scored four more times on just one hit. Otherwise, four walks and an error contributed to the deluge.
It was the second inning the Mountaineers batted around and they led 18-9.
Strasburg was not to be denied as the Rams brought home three runs in the bottom of the inning for the final score.
The Rams’ Colten Smith was 3-for-3 with a double. Pritchett was 3-for-5 with a roundtripper and two doubles. Nate Butler drove home two runs. Reynolds scored twice, Scholten was 2-for-5 with a double and triple. Austin Miller drove in two runs and had two hits.
Baseball Conference 35 Finals
First Bank Park
Mountaineers 18, Rams 11
Madison 013 145 4-18 10 3
Strasburg 501 300 2–11 13 2
Madson-Middlehales, Breckenridge and Chris Smith and Nic Smith
Strasburg-Rickard, King, Austin Miller, Reynolds and Pritchett