Generals Out-Blast Express for 21st Win
The Generals turned four double plays in a game that saw plenty of home runs. The double plays all turned out to be key in the victory in a game that every batter was a threat for a home run.
The scoring got started in the bottom of the second with the first of five home runs hit on the night. This time for the Express, it was Tyler Johnson. Johnson was the winner this past weekend in the Valley League Home Run Derby. He continued his ways in Strasburg to put the Express out to an early 2-0 lead.
The Generals responded in the top of the third with a pair of back-to-back two out doubles. The first was a shot by Kobe Lopez (Florida International) down the left field line that got past the diving third baseman. Connor Norby (East Carolina) followed it up with a double into the right centerfield gap. The Gens cut the lead in half by making the score 2-1.
After a clean bottom of the third, the Generals put up three runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead. A walk by Wes Clarke (South Carolina) and a double by Gunner Peterson (Illinois State) had runners at second and third with nobody out. After a strikeout, it was up to Elijah Quiceno (Gannon U) to try and get the runs in. He was extremely successful in his attempt. He got a good pitch to hit and sent it over the wall in centerfield for his first home run of the summer. The three run shot put the Generals ahead 4-2 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fourth, Nick Proto connected on his first home run in his first game for the Express. It was the first run that Christian Dearman (Florida International) had given up all summer. The solo shot made the score 4-3 and gave the Express a bit of momentum.
The biggest momentum swing of the game came in the bottom of the fifth. The first hitter of the inning popped out to Wes Clarke at first. After that, things got a bit tough for the Generals. Three straight singles had the bases loaded with one out. Christian Dearman was still out there trying to find his way out of the inning. Strasburg’s dugout was very involved and chirped quite often at Dearman. However, when the Generals turned a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the jam with the lead intact, the dugout was quiet while Dearman was fired up.
From there, the Generals capitalized on the momentum. They scored four runs in the top of the sixth to break things open a bit. A double by Jackson Tate (Alabama) that glanced off the arm of the third baseman got the rally started for the Generals. The throw into second base got away and allowed Tate to move into third base with just one out in the inning. Strasburg elected to pull the infield in but Eli Quiceno came up large again. This time he shot a single up the middle to get the lead to two runs. After a stolen base and a fly ball to right field, Quiceno found himself at third base. He was able to score on a well hit ball by Brad Burckel (Houston) that was ruled as an error. Two pitches later, Kobe Lopez connected on his second home run of the summer to put the Gens on top 8-3.
The Express would add a run in the bottom of the ninth on Tyler Johnson’s second homer of the game. But ultimately, it was Christian Edwards (Jacksonville State) that shut the door with two strong innings to finish the game. The final score was 8-4.
Key Performers for Strasburg:
Tyler Johnson: 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Nick Proto: 2-4, HR
Josiah Ortiz: 3-4
Hunter Blalock: 2-4, 2B
Key Performers for Waynesboro:
Elijah Quiceno (Gannon U): 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Kobe Lopez (Florida International): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Connor Norby (East Carolina): 3-5, 2B, RBI
The Generals (21-9) will be back in action Thursday night at home vs. the visiting Harrisonburg Turks. First pitch at Integrity Home Mortgage Park at Kate Collins Field is set for 7 pm.