Three elimination games last night, three lower seeds win on the road!
- Strasburg 3, Front Royal 2: In the top of the 10th inning, Strasburg’s Brandon Harvell hit his first home run of the summer off excellent closer Kevin Becker-Menditto, sending the Express to the semifinals against Charles Town. The Cardinals’ Hunter Newman drove in both runs for Front Royal with a home run and RBI single, and Mike Elwood threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, but it wasn’t enough for the Cards. The Express got an excellent start from Thomas Durkin, and three innings of shutout relief from Sean Stephenson, who earned the win. Sky Overton, who is batting .357 in the playoffs, rapped 3 hits for teh Express in the winning cause.
- Charles Town 6, Staunton 5: Charlie Pal hit a huge 3-run home run in the 5th inning, and the Cannons held on, thanks to 2 2/3 shutout relief innings from Austin Ray, who earned the save. Chris Townsend and Pal both scored two runs, and Jared Jordan got the win in relief. The Braves got 3 more hits from Gunnar McNeill, but 4th seeded Staunton was eliminated.
- Covington 3, Harrisonburg 1: In the biggest upset of the evening, the 8th seeded Lumberjacks ended the Turks’ season with a 3-1 win in game three. Grant McKown hit a double and scored 2 runs, and Hayden Platt had 3 hits for the winners. The big story for the Jacks, though, was their pitching, as they got 7 2/3 innings from Philip Stokes, who allowed only 1 unearned run, and then 1 1/3 cleans innings from Cody Strayer, who earned the save. (Really, though, the top seed losing in the playoffs seems to be a long-standing Valley League tradition. The last time the team with the best regular season record won the championship was in 2008, when Luray went 30-14 and then won the championship series. In the last 14 years, the top seed has won only 4 times (2008 Luray, 2007 Waynesboro, and Winchester in 2003 and 2001.) The Jacks will travel to Waynesboro for game 1 of the semifinals tonight!