Trio combine to throw no-hitter for Wildcats

FRONT ROYAL — Three Warren County pitchers combined for a near-perfect no-hitter Wednesday night, as the Wildcats pounded Rappahannock County in Bull Run District play 11-0 in five innings. The game was halted after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Starter Joseph Rutherford took the win on two innings of perfect ball and four strikeouts. He was followed by middle man Mike Burrola who went a flawless two innings, only to be followed by third pitcher Josh France.

The only thing keeping it from a perfect game was a hit batsman in the fifth.

“Joseph Rutherford is, and has been a good pitcher for us all season, and tonight he had it going,” Warren County coach Vernon Mathews said. “We have come to rely on him.”

Burrola was just as effective pitching the third and fourth innings, as he recorded a strikeout. France also got a strikeout.

“Mike struggled for us a little bit in our last game [a 6-5 loss to Central on April 10], but we were happy for him to come back. He looked sharp out there tonight,” Mathews added.

The Warren head coach was unhappy with the one-run loss to the Falcons at Bing Crosby Stadium. In that game, the Wildcats made what he termed six errors.

But against Rappahannock, Rutherford, Burrola and France were masterful, while the Warren County fielders performed without an error.

“This is the first time I’ve combined with other pitchers for a no-hitter this year,” Rutherford said. “Though I was involved in one last year.”

The victory for the Wildcats improved their record to 4-3 in the district, with the same resulting overall mark. Rappahannock fell to 0-5 and 0-6.

“We have probably less than 300 students in our school from eighth grade to 12th, so it’s just a matter of having enough boys to come out for the team. We really don’t make cuts, we pretty much take what he have,” Rappahannock County coach Mike Atkins said.

Warren County laid a six-spot on Panthers starter Dylan Midkiff. Andrew Williams and Colby Frye came on in relief.

After going ahead 6-0, Warren County went ahead by nine in the second inning.

While the Panthers were barely hitting balls on foul tips and infield outs, the Wildcats finally got the two runs they were hunting to end the game on the mercy rule.

The Wildcats scored all they needed by the bottom of the fourth. All France had to do was come in and shut the Panthers down.

Eric Baker scored two runs and slapped a double for Warren County. Joseph Rutherford helped his cause with a triple. Teammate Stephen Johnson reached base three times, had a hit and a game-leading three runs batted in. Hunter Wines drove home two.

The Wildcats host George Mason on Friday.