Michaud ‘on the money’ in Warriors’ win

FRONT ROYAL — Sherando senior Ty Michaud got the best of Skyline’s Tyler Ritenour in a pitcher’s duel between the Northwestern District rivals Friday evening at Bing Crosby Stadium.

Michaud held the Hawks to only two hits and a lone run while walking one, hitting two batters and striking out nine in a complete-game effort in the Warriors’ 3-1 victory.

“He was on the money today,” Warriors coach Pepper Martin said. “I thought he had a dominating performance out there. All his pitches were working. He was able to locate them and spot them.

“Tonight he was getting ahead in the count and when they got baserunners, in most cases it wasn’t until with one or two outs. We can attribute this win to his performance on the mound.”

Michaud, who improved to 1-1 with the win, retired the first 10 batters he faced on Friday and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Aaron Tasker broke it up with a two-out single to center. The right-hander’s only run allowed came unearned after a Sherando (3-5, 2-1 Northwestern) error in the third inning.

“I really developed my slider really well. It’s hard to pick it up out of the hand. That’s what just got me ahead and then I just blew them by with the fastball,” Michaud said.

“They were both on, but the slider I would use to get ahead and then I’d fool them with the curve.”

The senior faced little resistance from Skyline (4-5, 2-2) through most of the first four innings, but was forced to strand two runners in each of the final three innings on Friday.

Skyline put its first two batters on base in the bottom of the seventh inning after a Warriors error — their third of the game — and an infield single by pinch-hitter Dylan Hamman. Both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Tasker, but Michaud got Marcus Burke and Hawks leadoff man Robert Presley to strike out to end the game.

“I just knew I had to hit the corners more and not give them a chance to put the ball in play at all so that they could score a run somehow,” Michaud said.

Sherando’s offense backed Michaud with just enough run support, as the Warriors struggled to string together hits against Ritenour. The Hawks senior pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four.

“He did pitch really well tonight,” Hawks coach Jay Barnes said. “We made some good plays at times to keep us in it. Bringing the infield in and throwing some ground balls and getting some outs with guys on second and third really helped us.”

The Warriors scored the game’s first run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Frank Ritter III and added a second run on a bloop RBI single to very shallow right-center by Pearce Bucher in the fourth.

Skyline answered with its only run in the bottom of the fourth without registering a hit. Gavin Kandrick was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and moved to third on a stolen base and a throwing error by Sherando catcher Connor Stevenson, before scoring on Hunter Partlowe’s sacrifice fly.

The Hawks, who have scored only one run in their last three games, mustered little offense after that as they stranded six runners over the final three innings.

“We’ve got to make an adjustment and get ourselves figured out at home plate,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to take from practice to the field. … We’re really good [batting practice] hitters, but we’ve got to find a way to take it to the field with us.”

Sherando left the bases loaded twice in the win, including in the fifth inning as Ritenour escaped unscathed after initiating an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. The Warriors left the bases full in the top of the seventh, but not before adding an insurance run on Adam Whitacre’s RBI groundout.

“[Ritenour] had that sidearm angle and we’d at times get a little happy with our hands and get out front on our front leg,” Martin said. “We’d hit the ball, but we didn’t hit it very hard. Then we had opportunities to drive some runs in and we’d pop up or hit a routine grounder and leave runners on base. We’ve been having trouble with that all season.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com