By Shelby Dermer
Two days ago, the defending VBL-champion Strasburg Express showed up to the Fireman’s Field in downtown Purcellville, Virginia and left 12-3 winners over the hometown Cannons, jumping out to a 5-run lead in the game’s second inning and pounding out a total of 17 hits in their sixth win over the Cannons in their last seven tries.
On Thursday, the two teams will battle on the diamond once again, with the venue switching to First Bank Field in downtown Strasburg.
Purcellville is currently riding a 3-game losing streak that the Express had a hand in just 48 hours ago. In charge of changing the fortunes of the 1-4 Cannons is 18-year-old Pat Doudican, a southpaw pitcher from the College of Charleston, who is looking to redeem himself after his first outing did not go as planned.
One week ago, Doudican was given the nod by manager Brett Fuller to throw the first pitches in Purcellville Cannons’ history, but was roughed up in a 12-4 loss to the Front Royal Cardinals at Bing Crosby Stadium.
Doudican lasted just 2 2/3 innings in the loss to the Cardinals, but his stat-line was a mixture of positives and negatives.
For starters, the lefty only allowed two earned runs, but early errors by the Cannons allowed six runs to cross for the Cardinals in the third inning that Doudican could not recover from.
Another positive from Doudican was that he did not allow a single hit. When Matt Copley came in first out of the bullpen and recorded the final out of the third, the Cardinals had batted around their order and had taken a 6-0 lead without cracking the hit column.
As mentioned, errors in the field led to Doudican recording just eight total outs in his first starts, but his two wild pitches and five walks he surrendered played a key role in a less-than-favorable outing, too.
The great thing about baseball, however, is that every day is a new day. After watching the last four games from the dugout, Doudican is well-rested and ready to aid the Cannons to a win that would break their early-season skid.
He will have to deal with a Strasburg lineup that, as previously mentioned, had a field day against the Cannons on Tuesday at Fireman’s Field. In that contest, the Express chased Purcellville starter Carter Bair out of the game just two outs into the second inning.
Leadoff centerfielder Donovan May lifted a solo home run to right field in that win for one of his two hits, joining six of his teammates who tallied multiple hits in the 9-run defeat of Purcellville, so it is definitely a challenge Doudican will be facing on a pitch-to-pitch basis.
[Shelby Dermer is an intern for the Purcellville Canons.]