FRONT ROYAL – Coming off a disappointing loss on Monday to Moorefield, Strasburg’s baseball team got the complete team-effort they were looking for on Wednesday.
The Rams used a balanced hitting attack and a strong performance on the mound by Trevor Sager to defeat Skyline 11-1 in non-district baseball action. The game was called after six innings due to the mercy rule.
“Everybody picked each other up tonight,” Strasburg senior Cameron Harmon said. “I think that really showed. This was a good game where we came back together a little bit. And I think we’ll be more prepared going forward.”
The Rams took the lead in the top of the second. With one out, Strasburg junior Chase Hart singled off of Skyline starting pitcher Nolan Golden. One out later, Collin Reynolds reached on an error to keep the inning alive.
Strasburg junior Justin Day was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Strasburg No. 9 hitter Chris Shelton’s two-run single gave the Rams a 2-0 lead.
The 7-8-9 hitters for the Rams – Collin Reynolds, Day and Shelton – reached base a combined seven times and had four hits and four RBIs.
“They got the momentum going way before I did,” Harmon, the Rams’ leadoff hitter, said. “They were hitting the ball. They got on base first.”
Harmon followed with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 3-0. He said that he had been in a bit of a slump and it felt good to have a good night at the plate. Harmon finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
“I have to put it to my teammates – they always pick me up,” Harmon said. “I’ve been in kind of a slump lately and they always pick me up. They never tell me, ‘hey, what are you doing up there?’ They always say, ‘hey, just get the next one.’ That’s the mentality that I took with that and just made minor adjustments with myself, and finally tonight it paid off.”
Skyline coach Jeff Monroe said that once his team gets down, they struggle to come back.
“We’re right there, and then all of a sudden we’ll make one error and give up a couple runs instead of making that one play to get us out of the inning,” Monroe said.
The Rams (4-4) added two more in the top of the fourth. Day reached on an error and Shelton followed with a single. They each stole a base to move to second and third.
Harmon and Trey Stinette had back-to-back sacrifice flies to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Hawks (1-8) scored a run in the bottom of the fourth. Skyline’s Ty Clingerman singled and went to second on a throwing error. Tyler Hugo drew a walk from Sager.
With two outs, Sam Harris singled to score Clingerman and cut the deficit to 5-1.
Strasburg added to its lead in the top of the fifth. Corey Keller and Chase Hart had back-to-back doubles to start the inning. Reynolds followed with a two-run single to increase the lead to 7-1.
Day’s bloop single put runners on the corners. With two outs, Harmon’s RBI single gave the Rams an 8-1 advantage.
The Rams added three more in the top of the sixth, including an RBI single by Hart and aided by a three-base error from Skyline.
Sager, making his first start of the season on the mound, allowed just four hits, struck out five in picking up a complete game victory.
“The whole game I was throwing good,” Sager said. “I just knew I needed to execute to get ground balls, trust my fielders, trust my defense and good things will happen – and it showed.”
Skyline was led at the plate by Hunter McIntyre with two hits. The Hawks begin their Class 3 Northwestern District season next week and Monroe said he’s hoping they can get some momentum and turn things around.
“It’s a new season,” Monroe said. “We got an opportunity. The biggest thing is we just got to find a way to win because we’re struggling right now. Losing is just like winning – when you’re losing it just seems like everything just piles up. So hopefully if we can win a few maybe that will change things around for us.”
Hart had three hits and an RBI and Shelton had two hits and two RBIs for the Rams.
Strasburg coach Joe Bauserman said that since the Rams didn’t have much of a preseason due to weather conditions they are still trying to find the best players and the best places to put them at.
“We’re trying to get some other guys some playing time and just trying to get guys looks and just trying to find a good solid 9 or 10 guys,” Bauserman said. “But we’ve got a good solid 12 or 13. So we’re going to keep plugging away and hopefully, we just keep playing good ball.”