Sometimes the outcome of a game is determined on the very last play, while sometimes it is determined at the very beginning.
We didn’t realize it at the time, but this outcome was determined by Strasburg’s 5th batter, Jacob Hirsh, who hit a bases-loaded double, scoring three, to put the Express up 4-0 in the top of the first inning. Little did we know then, but those runs were more than enough for Express starter Brendan Smith.
Smith, with his “turn-his-back” windup, held the Rebels lineup, one of the best in the league, to 3 hits and 1 earned run over 7 complete innings. He walked 3 and struck out 7. “I just wanted to go out there with my best stuff, leave it all on the field,” Brendan said after the game. “I didn’t want to regret anything after this one.” Working with mostly just his fastball and slider, Brendan kept the Rebels off balance all night, bringing some order to a series that saw 29 runs scored in the first two games.
The Express were led at the dish by the aforementioned Jacob Hirsh, Sean Scales, who had 3 hits, and Sebastiano Santorelli, who also had 3 hits, including a double and a home run (which put the Express up 7-0 in the 3rd inning).
Brandon Quaranta walked twice at the plate, but also made two very nice catches at first base. He ranged to his left and caught a foul fly ball over his shoulder in the 4th inning, and then followed it up by going the other way and catching a flare over his other shoulder one inning later. As a whole, the Strasburg defense did not commit an error all game.
The Express moves on to face the winner of tonight’s game in Purcellville- game three between the Cannons and Winchester Royals.