Purcellville Cannons’ manager Brett Fuller may have found the ace of his rotation. On Tuesday night at Fireman’s Field, right-handed hurler Brandon Caples authored an eight-inning, one-run performance to lead the Cannons to a 4-1 win over the defending VBL-champion Strasburg Express.
Strasburg had averaged 9.6 runs per game in the first 10 contests of the season and rode an 8-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s showdown with the Cannons. That did not intimidate Caples, however, who tallied his second 8-inning performance of the season, yielding just six hits and striking out four to pick up his first win of the season, and first victory for a Cannons’ starter in 2016.
In two starts, Caples has tossed 16 innings while posting an impressive 1.68 ERA.
The Purcellville offense came in hot, too, scoring 27 runs in their last four games after scoring just 15 in their first five.
Timely 2-out hitting was the main source for the Cannons’ runs on Tuesday. Right fielder Daniel Gooden lined a 2-out, run-scoring single in the fourth off Strasburg starter Jared Silva to give Purcellville a 2-1 lead.
Playing add-on in the eighth, first baseman Charlie Watters ripped a 2-out double over left fielder Haiden Lamb’s head that allowed PJ Harris to score all the way from first to put the Cannons up 3-1. Harris knocked in the Cannons’ first run on a ground out in the game’s opening inning.
One batter after Watters’ RBI double, Eriq White’s ground ball was mishandled by Strasburg third baseman Joseph Fernando that allowed Watters to score and give Purcellville a 4-1 lead, a score that would stand as the final.
The lone mark on Caples’ victorious performance was an unearned run in the top of the fourth. A leadoff single by Kyle Casserly was misplayed by center fielder DeAndre Amion that allowed Casserly to move to third, later scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game at one.
Shutting the door for the Cannons was Purcellville-native Will Reed. With two wins already to his credit this season, Reed struck out the side in the ninth to record his first save of the season.
With the win, Purcellville moved to 4-6 on the season, now winners of three of their past four games. They will travel to New Market on Wednesday to take on the Rebels, a team they beat 7-6 in their home-opener on June 3.