EXPRESS DEFEAT ROYALS 8-7 IN GAME 1 OF NORTH DIVISION FINALS
Weird afternoon of baseball...following a sudden rain storm on Wednesday night, Winchester and Strasburg were forced to play the remaining 2 innings of game 1 on Thursday afternoon at Strasburg. The Express would hold on, securing the 8-7 victory to take the series lead.
Donovan Burke (JMU) was outstanding on the mound for Strasburg, pitching 6 strong innings and striking out 8 while allowing only 3 earned runs. Matt Poston (Florence-Darlington Tech) would earn the win in relief, recording a huge bases loaded strike out to keep the game tied 6-6 in the 7th inning.
*then the rain came*
Ryan Ammons (Clemson) took the ball Thursday afternoon and went the final 2 frames, allowing a run and striking out 4, earning a save in the process.
Offensively Ryan Galanie (Wofford) again paced the Strasburg bats going 2-for-5 with a home run, double, run scored and 2 RBI. Graham Brown (Coastal Carolina) went 2-for-4 with a home run of his own to go with 2 runs scored and a RBI. Brayton Brown (Auburn) and Chad Fairey (Clemson) each had 2 hits, with Brown having a double and RBI while Fairey scored once.
Rounding out the Express offensive attack was Zach Ketterman (Western Carolina) going 1-for-2 with RBI and 2 walks, while Eric Toth (Presbyterian College) had a RBI double. Tripp McKinlay (St. Johns River State College) had a hit, run scored, RBI and BB while adding a stolen base for good measure.
EXPRESS SWEEP WINCHESTER, HEAD TO VALLEY BASEBALL LEAGUE FINALS
The Chanting Royals of Winchester had a lot to cheer about early, scoring 11 runs in the first 5 innings...seemingly destined to force a game 3. Strasburg opted to let their bats do the talking however, scoring 10 runs over the final 4 frames while holding Winchester scoreless, shocking the Royals 17-11 and advancing to the VBL Finals for the 5th time in 6 seasons.
Offensively, contributions came from all over the lineup. Chad Fairey (Clemson) led the way going 3-for-3 with a 2B, 3B and 5 runs scored to go with 2 stolen bases. Graham Brown (Coastal Carolina) was 3-for-6 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Mac McCroskey (Oral Roberts) had 3 hits of his own to go with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. Wrapping up the 3-hit club is JJ Sousa (St. Johns River State College) who also had 3 RBI and a run scored.
Ryan Galanie (Wofford) and Eric Toth (Presbyterian College) both had 2 hits and a RBI, with Galanie scoring twice and Toth once. Brayton Brown (Auburn) led off the game with a home run and proceeded to draw 4 walks, scoring 3 times. Ty Hooks (Winthrop) walked 3 times and scored a run while Tripp McKinlay (St. Johns River State College) had a RBI.
On the mound, Braden Ostrander (FAU) and Mitchell Ford (Salem University) battled early for the Express, keeping them in the game through 6 innings. Benjamin Taylor (Fairmont State) would earn the win in relief, tossing a scoreless 7th...the ever-important shutdown inning following Strasburg's 8 run outburst in the top half. Strasburg opted to hit the gas in the 8th and 9th inning as Matt Poston (Florence-Darlington Tech) would throw the final frames, tossing 2 perfect innings and striking out 3.