Error-free Rams knock off Eagles

BERRYVILLE — For the first time this season Strasburg played an error-free game.

The Rams used solid pitching and some quality at-bats to defeat Clarke County, 4-2, in Bull Run District and Conference 35 baseball action.

“This feels more like Strasburg baseball because we’re playing more as a team,” Strasburg senior Josh Pritchett said. “We’re trying to cut down on our errors. Tonight we didn’t make any errors. So we just need to keep doing that.”

The Rams have been plagued by errors in their first four games, with at least three in each game. Strasburg had committed 16 errors combined in its three previous contests. However, the Rams played very solid defense against the Eagles, including a game-ending double play started by a nice catch by second baseman Justin King on a line drive.

Strasburg (4-1, 1-0 Conference 35) took the lead in the top of the first. Austin Miller was hit by a pitch by Clarke County starting pitcher Colton Webb. The Strasburg junior was then forced out at second base on a ground ball by King.

Cory Clinedinst followed with a single and Pritchett reached on an infield single to load the bases. King then scored on a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by Ryan Bowers and an error on the play scored Clinedinst for a 2-0 edge.

The Rams added a run in the top of the third. With two outs and two strikes in the count, Strasburg senior Dylan Campbell doubled to keep the inning going. Trevor Sager followed with an RBI double to extend the lead to 3-0.

“They had a tough pitcher and we still came out swinging and we were aggressive,” Strasburg coach Joe Bauserman said.

The Eagles (3-2, 0-1 Conference 35) cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fourth. Clarke County’s Kaden Warren drilled a pitch over the fence for a solo homer off Clinedinst to start the inning.

Webb and Michael Edwards each singled, but Clinedinst struck out Duff Bloomingdale and Michael Zuleger. Clarke County’s Samuel Fairman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pinch-runner Eamon Juday later scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 3-2.

“The home run really didn’t bother me,” Clinedinst said. “Then they were getting hits, started riding me a little bit. After I got the first strikeout I felt good, and I just kept throwing everything again.”

Clarke County’s Daniel Lyman replaced Webb on the mound to start the top of the fifth, and Pritchett greeted him on the first pitch with a solo home run for a 4-2 lead.

“Coach (Bauserman) asked me if I wanted to take the first pitch or if I wanted a meatball,” Pritchett said of his third homer of the season. “I said I wanted the meatball so I swung. It was right where I wanted it — pretty much right down the middle — and I turned on it.”

Clinedinst pitched to one batter in the bottom of the fourth, before Ryan Bowers came in to relieve him. Clinedinst struck out six, and allowed just four hits and one walk.

“He was tough out there,” Bauserman said. “He had all his stuff working for him. They had a couple good hitters. When he hung a curve ball one time (Warren) put it out there in the trees. But he came back and fought, never stopped fighting and did the job.”

Bowers allowed just one hit in three innings, striking out four with one walk.

Warren led the Eagles with two hits.

All nine batters reached base safely at least once. Pritchett and Campbell each had two hits for the Rams.

After the Rams’ only loss this season to Page County, Bauserman said he was unhappy with the team not doing the little things. In the win over Clarke County, he said the little things played a big part in the win.

“We had a lot of situational baseball today,” Bauserman said. “A lot of guys were getting guys over, getting them in, doing the little things. When you have a good pitcher on the mound you got to do that.”

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