Kevin Ward knows what his task is when he takes the mound and he doesn’t worry too much about the rest of it.
“It’s like my coach says — I have one job to do, go out there and pitch the ball and don’t worry about anyone else,” Ward said. “Just go out there and pitch the game and let the batting lineup do its job.”
That single-minded approach paid off Monday night as the Flucos won a 1-0 battle with Western Albemarle in a game that was moved up from Wednesday due to projected inclement weather this week. The win pushes Fluvanna to 8-2 on the season and 5-1 in the Jefferson District.
Ward leaned on his defense as he often does, striking out just three and walking nobody in the complete game effort. Ward has become adept at pitching to contact and forcing batters into tough situations against a Fluvanna defense that doesn’t make many mistakes.
“I knew I had to go in there and throw my game and that I have a good defense behind me,” Ward said. “It’s just about throwing strikes for my team and knowing my defense is going to get dirty for me and make plays for me.”
Ward was forced to live on the edge with just a narrow lead because Western pitcher Derek Domecq was holding them in check, surrendering six hits and walking just one while striking out three in five innings of work. It also didn’t help Fluvanna’s cause that the Flucos made a couple of critical base-running mistakes, including in the fifth inning when an overrun base at third allowed Western to complete a 1-5-1 double play to get out of the inning after Fluvanna had loaded the bases with one out.
“Maybe it’s just miscommunication, I’ll take the blame for that for not letting my players know how many outs there are and how much they can round the base,” said Fluvanna coach Joel Gray. “But we let them off the hook there at least twice.”
The other significant base-running error led to another double play in the fourth when Western caught a Fluvanna runner heading to second after a caught fly ball.
Before the inning ending double play, Ryan Groome provided the game-winning run on a single to left that scored Steven Monahan, lifting the Flucos past Domecq and the Warriors.
“That’s the first time we’ve beaten Domecq since the Egyptians built the Pyramids,” Gray said. “Western has always been a quality baseball team, they’re well-coached, that’s a huge win for us.”
Jacob Critzer went 2-for-4 on the day for the Flucos while Ward, Andrew Ward, Kyle Algieri and Dashon Carter also provided a hit a each.
For Western, Jack Masloff, Chris McGahren and Brendan Campbell had a hit each, but the Warriors struggled to take advantage of those rare opportunities against Kevin Ward.
The Warriors are slated to play at Charlottesville Tuesday while Fluvanna is slated to host Albemarle the same night, with both games contingent on projected weather.