WAYNESBORO — Five Strasburg pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout Saturday night to lead the Express to the Valley Baseball League Championship with a 4-0 victory over the Waynesboro Generals.
Strasburg won the series in two straight games. It was Strasburg's third VBL title since 2015 and the Express went 6-0 in the playoffs this season.
Strasburg head coach George Laase led the Express to the title after chasing the VBL ring for 15 seasons.
"One year as a player, 14 years as a coach, six of those as a head coach. I've been chasing this a long time," said Laase who is also the head baseball coach at Staunton High School.
"As much as this team was recognized all season for its hitting, I thought our pitchers had been consistent all year," he said. "(Dalton) Skinner wanted the ball tonight and was phenomenal on the mound. Our relief pitchers (Matt) Kleinfelter, (Robert) Kelley, (Matt) Poston and (Ryan) Ammons all stepped up and did their job to finish it. We had a great group of guys recruited for the summer and they finished off a great season tonight."
Strasburg jumped out to a quick lead when Brayton Brown led off the game with a triple and Tripp McKinley followed with a single to put the Express up 1-0.
The game then settled into a pitcher's duel between Strasburg's Skinner and Waynesboro's Bradley Wilson as the Express lead stayed at 1-0 until the top of the sixth when the visitors added a second run.
McKinley led off the top of the sixth with a double and moved to third on a single by Ryan Galanie. McKinley scored on a groundout by Eric Toth, making the score 2-0.
The Express added some cushion in the seventh when their power bats came alive with back-to-back homers from Cameron Clonch and Zach Ketterman to open a 4-0 advantage.
Waynesboro threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Jackson Ross walked and moved around to third on a double by Max Weller. Strasburg reliever Robert Kelley got the next two batters on a pop fly to short and a grounder to short to end the threat.
The Generals opened the eighth with back-to-back walks but once again failed to come up with a clutch hit as the Express maintained a 4-0 lead.
Strasburg closer Ryan Ammons retired the Generals in the ninth to finish off the 4-0 victory.