STRASBURG – Justin Day was able to keep his composure on the mound Thursday.
The Strasburg sophomore pitcher had a no-hitter through five innings, but things quickly took a bad turn in the sixth. Day was able to pitch out of a jam without giving up the lead and the Rams held on for a 4-3 victory over Madison County in Bull Run District baseball action.
Day’s no-hit bid came to an end on an infield single by Todd Davis to start the top of the sixth with the Rams leading 4-0.
“Once they got the hit I was definitely like ‘dang, they got it,’” Day said. “But it didn’t really affect anything. I was just like ‘it happens. Someone’s going to hit the ball eventually.’”
Madison County pinch-hitter Alex Kreh drew a walk from Day. Madison County’s Samuel Estes reached safely on a fielder’s choice, which loaded the bases, as Day’s throw on a bunt to third base was not in time.
It appeared Day may get out of the inning unscathed as he struck out Hugh Wingate and William Graves. Connor Houser then hit a three-run double to cut the lead to 4-3. Day was able to recover and induced a fly out by Jack Bourdon to end the inning.
Trevor Sager came in to relieve Day in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning to end the game.
Day allowed just two hits, had six strikeouts with just one walk.
“I felt pretty good,” Day said. “I was happy that it was warmer today. My arm was a lot more ready. The main thing is I was just really appreciative of my teammates doing their jobs. I could not have done it without them. They made some amazing plays.”
Day had the lead for most of the game as the Rams scored three runs in the bottom of the first.
Sager drew a walk from Madison County starting pitcher Houser. Collin Reynolds drilled a pitch over the center-field wall for a 2-0 lead. It was Reynolds’ first homer of his varsity career.
“I’ve been working on my hitting,” Reynolds said. “I haven’t been hitting very great. I’ve been working on it. I just tried to put the ball in play. I put the bat on the ball.”
Strasburg coach Joe Bauserman said he was glad to see the homer from Reynolds.
“He’s been tough for us all year, stepping up, playing for us,” Bauserman said. “It’s nice to see him get rewarded.”
The Rams (6-7, 2-1 Bull Run) added another run in the bottom of the first. Corey Keller reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on an infield single by Cameron Harmon. Day drew a walk to load the bases and Keller scored on an error to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Rams added another run in the bottom of the fifth. Hart reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a throwing error. A sacrifice fly by Keller scored Hart to make it 4-0.
Strasburg had opportunities to extend the lead even more but was plagued by a few baserunning errors.
Day said he felt like his curveball was working well for him and was a key to his success.
Bauserman said Day pitched a strong game for the Rams.
“He’s tough on the mound,” Bauserman said. “When he throws all three of his pitches for strikes he’s tough. He had command of his pitches. And he’s tough when he gets ahead in the count.”
The Rams had five hits but drew four walks from Madison County pitchers and were hit by pitches twice.
Strasburg has been a little up and down this season but Bauserman said the team just needs to keep competing and trying to improve.
“We just got to keep plugging away,” he said. “We just got to get a little bit tougher when things get bad – not try to freak out. If we can do that we should at least be in every ballgame. If we play our best game we can play with a lot of teams.”