Cannons End Four-Game Skid and Clinch Playoff Berth
By, Matt Davis
PURCELLVILLE, VIRGINIA—After coming off a double-header sweep at the hands of the Charlottesville TomSox, the Cannons (23-14; 1st place in the North) looked to end their four-game losing streak and get back in the win column to clinch a playoff berth for the 2017 season. To do that, they took on the Front Royal Cardinals (16-22; 5th place in the North) and looked to make it a perfect 6-0 season sweep of the Cardinals.
The Cannons sent Andrue Hughart to the mound with the task of ending the losing streak and helping the Cannons get to the playoffs. The game started out strong for the Cannons as Hughart sent the Cardinals down 1, 2, 3 in the top of the first. Nolan Ritchie led off the Cannons half of the first with a walk. Gabriel Castillo came to the plate and blasted a pitch down the left field line for a two-run homerun, and his first of the summer. The Cannons managed to get through 2/3 of their lineup in the first inning, but only managed to push two runs across the plate.
Runs have been hard to come by for the Cannons during the losing streak, and not much changed in this game. The Cannons had their opportunities to add to the lead, but good pitching from the Cardinals stymied the Cannons’ bats. Luckily, the pitching for the Cannons was lockdown.
The Cardinals were able to put one run up on the board. In the third inning, Hughart ran into a little trouble as he loaded the bases, giving up a leadoff single and walking the next two hitters. The lineup card turned back over to the top of the order where second baseman, Jordan Greene hit an RBI single that scored Joseph McGuinness, who led off the inning with a single.
The score would hold at 2-1, as Hughart threw 6.1 innings, gave up four hits, one earned run, three walks, and struck out five hitters. Tom Sutera came in relief, his first appearance for the Cannons since July 15th. Sutera threw 2.2 innings, gave up only one hit, and struck out four hitters. Sutera also got the save, his third of the season.
With this win, the Cannons improved to 23-14 on the season and clinched a playoff spot. More good news, as their lead over New Market increased to a two-game lead. New Market took on Winchester, and the Royals defeated the Rebels 16-15.
The Cannons are on the road Saturday at Woodstock and Sunday at Strasburg. They return home on Monday, to take on Covington in a make-up game from July 5th.