By Ryan Decker
The Journal (Martinsburg, W.Va.)
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Pitching was the name of the game Wednesday night between Front Royal (2-2) and the Cannons (1-3).
Both starting pitchers struck out at least six batters and neither allowed more than one run to cross the plate against them.
Cardinals pitcher Dalton Potts didn't allow a single runner to score, blanking the Cannons in 2-0 shutout victory.
"It was a good, clean baseball game all around," Cardinals manager Jake Weghorst said.
"[Potts] was mixing three good pitches for strikes. Anytime you got a guy that's locating his fastball and throwing his offspeed stuff for strikes, it's a tough day for opposite hitters."
Both Potts and Cannons starting pitcher Jake Johnson made quick work of the opposing team's bats through the first three inning. Neither allowed a runner to reach base.
Front Royal got the first baserunner and hit. Jean Cardenas walked to lead off the top of the fourth inning but was gunned out trying to steal second by catcher Brent Williams. Ryan Johnston and Brent Morris hit back-to-back singles. However, they were left stranded when Joey Miller hit into a double play.
Potts made quick work of the Cannons' bats in the fourth, his no-hitter still going strong.
Front Royal scored the game's first run in the top of the fifth. Aaron Moore scored on a wild pitch by Johnson, his only big mistake of the game.
The Cardinals would have scored a second run in the inning if it had not been for the strong arm of Ty Michelotti in right field.
Garret Flynn flew out to Michelotti for the second out of the inning while Kyle Morrow was on third base. Morrow tagged up, but he was nailed at the plate by a great, one-hop throw from Michelotti to end the innig.
Dillon Cooper ended Potts' no-hit bid in the bottom of the frame with a single.
Potts allowed only one more hit the rest of the game.
"Dalton threw a heck of a game," Weghorst said. " It's nice to go through a game and not have to use your bullpen. I couldn't be happier for him."
Johnson and Potts continued the pitchers duel through the eighth inning.
Ryan Morris came in to pitch for the Cannons in the ninth.
Morris gave up a single to Ryan Johnston to start the inning and the next batter, Brent Morris, doubled home Johnston for a Cardinal insurance run.
The Cannons threatened in the bottom of the frame by getting two runners on. Neither scored.
Potts pitched his nine innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six. He did so on just 98 pitches.
"Any time you can throw a complete game under 100 pitches, you're throwing pretty consistent," Weghorst said.
Johnson struck out seven Cardinal batters in his eight innings pitched, allowing only one run.
Even though the record doesn't reflect it, Cannons manager Bobby Rauh said that the starting pitching has been there for the team so far this season.
"It was another great outing by our staff," Rauh said. "We're fortunate to have so many good outings from our staff these first four games."