STRASBURG — Strasburg got off to a fast start on Monday and made it pay off.
The Rams jumped out to an early lead en route to a 15-7 victory in the Region 2B quarterfinals. It was the fifth straight win for the Rams.
“Even though it was a region game we didn’t look intimidated at all,” Strasburg senior Cameron Harmon said. “...Momentum really helps. It helps everybody relax. It’s like everybody plays better and jumping on them early gives us confidence to keep going in the game and just hold that lead.”
The Rams (13-10) scored five runs in the bottom of the first to take control of the game. Strasburg’s Trey Stinnette was hit by a pitch from Buffalo Gap starting pitcher Jacob Matheney to start the inning.
Stinnette was forced out at second on a grounder by Chris Shelton. Harmon followed with an RBI double for a 1-0 lead.
“Getting the momentum going for my team is great,” Harmon said. “Whatever kind of hit it is, I’m just glad to have started that.”
Corey Keller followed with bunt single. With two outs, Alec Campbell’s RBI single made it 2-0. Collin Reynolds reached on an error to score another run. Patchrick Kennedy followed with an RBI single and Brandon Martin added an RBI double to make it 5-0.
The Rams added four more in the second to stretch the lead to 9-0. Every starter reached base for the Rams as they finished the game with 13 hits.
“Everybody contributed tonight,” Harmon said. “Tonight was just a team effort on our part. Everybody just stepped up, everybody played. Everybody showed what we can do as a Strasburg baseball team.”
The Bison (9-14) cut the lead to 9-3 in the fourth, but the Rams responded with a three-run fourth to push the lead back to 12-3.
Buffalo Gap cut the lead in the sixth to 12-7, but the Rams again responded with a three-run inning.
Harmon went 5.2 innings before being relieved by Chase Hart.
“I was hitting my spots,” Harmon said. “They’re a good hitting team. They figured it out a little so they got some hits. But my defense stepped in behind me and got those outs.”
Strasburg coach Joe Bauserman said the key to the five-game win streak the Rams are on has been team chemistry.
“Our guys are real tight and we’re loud,” Bauserman said. “We talked about this in the beginning of the season — just come out here and have fun. I think we got away from that last year. It might not have been fun during the middle of the season. But I think they kept the belief in the process and next thing you know they’re having fun. When you’re winning games, you’re having fun. It’s all coming together for them and we’re proud of them.”
Harmon led the Rams’ offense with three hits and three RBIs. Hart, Campbell and Martin each had two hits for Strasburg.
The Rams host Stuarts Draft today in the Region 2B semifinals at 6 p.m. with a Class 2 state berth on the line.
Harmon is the team’s only senior and Strasburg has battled adversity this season after having two of the team’s top pitchers, Justin Day and Trevor Sager go down with injuries.
Bauserman said win or lose this is a great experience for his squad.
“This experience that we’re getting right now is pretty awesome,” he said. “It’s going to bode well for the kids down the road. But right now like I told the guys — it’s baseball, anything can happen. All we got to do is win one more. And I think they believe that. And as long as we believe it, then we’ll be in the game.”