By Madison Hricik

Rain delays are no problem around here, and it’s time to head into the Northern division finals! With these two teams getting ready to battle it out tonight, it’s time to see what each team will bring to the plate.

Strasburg Express

Not much is stopping this team right now, and they are ready to battle for a championship spot. After sweeping New Market last night, the Express are turning their attention to the Royals.

Ryan Galanie remains a top prospect for Strasburg, hitting a .571 batting average with five runs and an RBI during the New Market series. Not far behind is JJ Sousa with a .500 batting average, one run, one RBI and one homer. Offense for the Express is a crucial element to their success, and it will be tested against the Royals.

On the mound, the relief pitchers have been the stars for Strasburg. Geo Rivera went two innings with two strikeouts for a 0.00 ERA, and was followed up by Robert Kelley with 2.1 innings with four strikeouts for a 0.00 ERA. 

Winchester Royals

Excitement is building for the Royals with their fan base openly sharing their hopes for the team. Now in the division finals, Winchester will need its roster in full swing if they hope to go to the championship.

Nate Furman has been the leader at-bat, holding a .750 average with five runs, two RBIs and a homer throughout the Woodstock series. Most Valuable Player Austin Bulman sits at a .500 batting average with two runs, three RBIs and a homer. 

For pitching, Michael Darrell-Hicks went six innings with six strikeouts for a 0.00 ERA as the starter to earn the win. In relief, Jordan Wimpelberg had two innings with five strikeouts for his 0.00 ERA. With Strasburg and a championship berth on the line, the bullpen will need to stay strong for the Royals to move on.

Series Prediction

Although an extremely interesting matchup, it’s likely this series will go in a sweep. The Winchester Royals have shown the largest upward progression of any team in the playoffs so far, and as long as they keep their momentum going it should end in their favor.