Every out a strike-out in no hitter

Every out a strike-out in no hitter
By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

Fluco junior pitcher Andrew Ward turned in an astonishing performance Thursday (May 23) when the first-seeded Flucos hosted the eighth-seeded Blazers of Spotswood High in the quarterfinals of the Region 3C play-offs.

Andrew Ward faced 22 batters in a seven inning game. He walked a batter in the second inning and struck out every other batter.

“In 25 years of coaching I’ve never seen this happen before,” said Fluco head Coach Joel Gray after the game.

Andrew Ward said he threw mostly fast balls and sliders, with an occasional change-up. He threw 65 strikes and only 20 balls. Less than three balls out of the strike zone per inning is amazing control. Ward’s speed and location were obviously completely overpowering. The Blazers were not a hopeless team; Grey said that they finished the regular season with a .500 record.

Andrew Ward fires to the plate. Photo by Deborah Nixon.

On offense, the Flucos scored nine runs with only eight hits. The Blazer pitchers were a little bit wild as they walked three and hit four batters. The Flucos scored the only run they needed in the first inning. Batting second, Andrew Ward helped his cause by singling. His twin brother, Kevin Ward, doubled to score the first run of the game.

In the second inning, the Flucos upped the score to 4-0. Senior third baseman Kyle Algieri led off and was hit by a pitch. Sophomore left fielder Mason Gross hit a ground ball but reached on a Blazer error. Junior center fielder A.J. Brown laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. Senior third baseman Ryan Groome followed with a two run single. Andrew Ward walked and Groome moved to third on a fly-out by senior catcher Jacob Critzer. Groome then scored the Flucos’ fourth run on a wild pitch. The Flucos scored three runs on one hit in the inning.

In the third inning, the Flucos continued to build their lead. Junior shortstop Cameron Shields walked. Algieri walked and Gross and Brown each singled to score a run. After three innings, the score was 6-0 and the Flucos looked pretty safe, as Andrew Ward had struck out the side three times in a row. The Flucos failed to score in the fourth. In the fifth, the Flucos scored two runs, as the Blazer pitchers hit three batters and Andrew Ward had a two run single. A double by Shields in the sixth led to the final Fluco run.

The Flucos scored in five of the six innings they batted, while Andrew Ward was striking out everyone he faced.

Photo by Fluvanna Sports Photography.

On offense for the Flucos, Andrew Ward was the only batter with two hits. Shields, Algieri and Gross were on base all four at bats, on an assortment of walks, hit by pitch and fielder’s choices. Shields and Gross each had one hit.

The Flucos’ win advanced them to the semifinals of the Region 3C play-off. They will host number four seed Broadway High Tuesday (May 28), which moved into the semifinals with a 16-13 win over the five seed Western Albemarle. It is anticipated that Kevin Ward will be the starting pitcher against Broadway High.

If the Flucos score a win Tuesday they will play for the Region 3C title at home Thursday (May 30) against either number three seed Brookville High or number seven seed Fort Defiance High. Fort Defiance upset number two seed Turner Ashby High in the quarterfinals.

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