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Shepherd homers, pitching chase Senators out of office

By Staff | Mar 15, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — It seemed colder for the perplexed batters of Davis & Elkins than it did for Shepherd’s homer-hitting threesome. And the Rams also kept the winless Senators off-balance with four pitchers who threw mostly strikes and rarely saw any of their pitches hit with any gusto by the visitors to chilly Fairfax Field.

As it had done on Friday when sweeping a doubleheader against the boys from the “Rooftop of West Virginia”, Shepherd won two more times by using the timeless combination of long balls and strikes to post 7-3 and 10-2 wins.

By winning a total of 4 games in just two winter-like afternoons, the Rams improved to 6-7 overall and left the Senators with an 0-12 record to carry back to Elkins.

In the opener, it was Brian McCourt’s grand slam home run that carried Shepherd to a 5-2 lead through four innings. McCourt’s homer was Shepherd’s only hit, but pitcher Adam Miller tight-roped through a minefield of Davis & Elkins base runners to help maintain the Rams’ advantage.

Miller allowed 9 runners in his 4-plus innings and was replaced after the first two Senators in the fifth reach safely.

Ryan Marketell replaced Miller with the tying run at the plate . . . and he harnessed the Senators with strikes with both his fastball and breaking ball. Marketell cleaned up the mess he inherited from Miller in the fifth, and then blanked Davis & Elkins in the both the sixth and seventh to earn a save.

In the sixth, Shepherd outfielders Jared Carr and Justin Smith hammered king-sized home runs over the center field fence, moving the lead to 7-3.

The 3 homers were the only hits the Rams managed.

As the clouds thickened over Fairfax Field, the nightcap of the doubleheader began.

After two scoreless innings, the Senators pounced on the wildness of Steve Bowley to post a pair of runs. Bowley hit two batters and yielded 3 singles in the inning but escaped further damage by leaving the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the third, the Rams started stealing bases and scoring runs themselves when Trenton Burgreen and Eddie Nottingham had hits and Burgreen, Carr and Brenton Doyle scored runs.

Shepherd’s 3-2 lead didn’t last long because the Rams came right back with another three-spot in the fourth as Burgreen, Carr and Doyle contributed hits with Carr getting two RBIs with a triple to the right field corner.

Bowley settled into a much better groove and blanked the Senators in the next two frames.

Shepherd broke completely free from any contact with the Senators in the fifth. Several Senator errors flamed the Shepherd rally and the Rams would eventually jam the bases with a game-total of 17 base runners as it plated another 4 runs to move off to a 10-2 lead.

Darkness had enveloped the field after the Senators failed to score in the sixth, and the game was ended as the street lights on the campus flickered on and both teams retreated to inside places of much more warmth.

The Rams stole 5 bases in the game with Doyle swiping 3 of them to bring his season total in base thefts to 15.

After a midweek doubleheader at home against Shippensburg, the Rams enter conference play this weekend with Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders against visiting West Virginia Wesleyan and Glenville State.

Daylight Saving time should prevent any more games ending in the gloamin’ of near-night, almost like the time Gabby Hartnett shoved the Chicago Cubs into the World Series in 1938.