Kevin WardAt any level of baseball from Little League to Major League Baseball, whether the game is six innings, seven innings, or nine innings, it is very rare for a pitcher to record a perfect game. A perfect game is one in which no batter on the opposing team reaches base. No hits, no walks, no errors, no hit batters, no third strike getting past the catcher. No one makes it on base, period.

On Tuesday (April 18) Flying Fluco freshman pitcher Kevin Ward achieved this feat against the Monticello Mustangs’ varsity baseball team in a game played on the Mustangs’ field. The game started well for the Flucos as they posted four runs in the top of the first. It would turn out to be more than enough offense for Fluvanna. The Mustangs went up and down in order in the bottom of the first. In the top of the second inning, the Flucos failed to score. The Mustangs went up and down in order. The Flucos added an insurance run in the top of the third for a 5-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, the Mustangs went up and down in order.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Flucos failed to score. The Mustangs went up and down in order. Again in the top of the fifth inning the Flucos failed to score, and the Mustangs went up and down in order. The Fluvanna squad put the game completely out of reach with another four runs in the top of the sixth inning for a 9-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Mustangs went up and down in order. The seventh inning was scoreless, and the Mustangs went up and down in order.

Ward completed a perfect game. Twenty-one batters went up and down in order. Coach Mike Sheridan noted that the seventh inning was especially tense, as the first Mustang batter hung in and fouled off several pitches with a three and two count. But Ward ultimately struck him out. The last out of the game was slow ground ball to second baseman Noah Brown, who fielded the ball and threw to first just in time to beat the runner.

Sometimes a perfect game involves an unusually high number of strikeouts. That was not the case in this game. Ward recorded four strikeouts – not a high number. This means that he had flawless support from the fielders behind him. Remember, a pitcher can record a no-hitter if the fielders behind him make an error or two, but a perfect game can only be accomplished if the pitcher’s teammates are perfect on defense as well.

Sheridan was naturally effusive in his praise of Ward’s performance. Ward “did a great job attacking the strike zone, and relying on his teammates to make the plays,” he said. Sheridan also noted that Monticello has “a well-regarded baseball program.” Therefore, Ward was not pitching against a team of hitless wonders.
The Fluco bats were very hot against the Mustangs, Sheridan said, producing 11 hits in seven innings. Senior third baseman Jacob Critzer led the way for the Flucos with four RBI, in four quality at-bats. Two hits were contributed by Ryan Grooms and outfielders Brant Ward and DaShan Carter. Ward helped his cause with an RBI and Nathan Gentry also contributed an RBI.

The Flucos followed their win over Monticello with a 2-5 loss at Albemarle High two days later. They are currently 8-4 overall. On April 24 and April 25 the Flucos hosted Spotswood High and Charlottesville High. On April 27 they host Louisa High. The Flucos are then on the road for three games against Western Albemarle, Orange County, and Powhatan on May 2, May 4 and May 9.The final game of the regular season is May 11, when the Flucos host Monticello High. Post-season play will follow the regular season.