After getting shutout Monday night, the Grays’ bats woke up and powered DC to a much-needed 11-5 road win over the South County Braves in Lorton.
The win moved the Grays to 11-18, as they crept ahead of the Braves in the tightly packed Ripken League standings.
The Grays decided to go unconventional on Monday when they elected to start lefty Sam Stratton (Wofford) on the mound. Stratton, who has been a bullpen mainstay, seemed more than up to the task early getting two batters to strike out in the first. Stratton’s poise and calmness on the mound was a much needed presence in a must win game for the Grays.
The two teams remained deadlocked as Braves starter DJ Muirhead (Marymount) and Stratton were both sharp early on. Stratton didn’t even give up a hit until his fourth inning of work and only allowed one more after that before getting pulled in the sixth.
Muirhead was not as fortunate. In the fifth inning with the score still tied, the Grays got going. An Aaron Thomas (Wofford) single got things started, and the Grays were looking to strike. A balk by Muirhead put Thomas on second with Derek Wood (George Mason) at the plate. The leadoff man roped a triple that got past the outfielders and rolled to the wall. Wood sped around the bases before making a headfirst slide into third which electrified the bench. Wood scored on a wild pitch from Muirhead and the Grays took the 2-0 lead.
But that wasn’t all the damage that was done by the Grays who put up a five spot in the top half of the sixth. Muirhead walked two batters and hit Mike Mallas (Lafayette) with a pitch. Muirhead surrendered another walk allowing a runner to score without allowing a hit. Thomas continued his great night at the plate when he hit a double that scored two, giving the Grays a 5-0 lead. Two more runs scored in the inning and the Grays took a 7-0 lead and never looked back.
South County did manage to put five runs on the board including a two run home run but it was too little too late as the Grays already had the game in hand as they put up a double digit run total. Henry Zipay (Nebraska-Omaha) lead the DC attack with four hits. Wood had three hits, and Thomas had two. Myles Sargent (maine) drove in two runs in a balanced performance by the Grays’ offense.
After Ryan Wheeler (Alvernia) and Lucky Perotto (Catholic) came on in relief of Stratton, Caleb Causey (Mississippi Valley State) closed out the ninth for DC. The game ended on a pretty double-play by the Grays’ infield.
The Grays will travel to Alexandria to play the Aces on Wednesday at Frank Mann Field as they continue their playoff push. First pitch is at 6:30pm.