MIllbrook’s Kennedy throws no-hitter in win over Skyline

WINCHESTER — Millbrook’s Ryan Kennedy was on top of his game Thursday night.

The Millbrook senior pitcher threw a no-hitter as the Pioneers topped Skyline, 10-0, in Northwestern District baseball action. The game ended in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.

“The no-hitter felt good,” Kennedy said. “I was just trying to hit my spots. Just trying to get ahead of batters, and that’s what it felt like I did really well tonight. I was just proud of the way the team played behind me and got a lot of runs for me.”

It was Kennedy’s first-ever individual no-hitter. He said he was part of a combined no-hitter earlier this season. Millbrook coach Brian Burke said they just found out Wednesday that Kennedy hadn’t started a game at home in two years until his game against the Pioneers.

Kennedy, who has signed to play at Kennesaw State University next year, picked a good time for his no-hitter. Burke said that there were Major League Baseball scouts from the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in attendance to watch Kennedy pitch.

“He commanded the zone,” Burke said. “His slider was good. He overpowered the hitters with the fastball tonight. He rose to the occasion and did an excellent job. We’re proud of him.”

The Pioneers (8-3, 3-1 Northwestern) took the lead in the bottom of the second. With one out, Millbrook’s Gavin West singled off Skyline starting pitcher Brett Ritter. Kyle Keenan reached base on an error.

Jalen Tyson drew a walk to load the bases and a ground out RBI by Ryan Houchens gave Millbrook a 1-0 lead.

The Pioneers extended the lead in the bottom of the third. Nate Jaye drew a walk to start the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bailey Collins.

Conor Hartigan followed with an infield single. A throwing error on a stolen base attempt by Hartigan scored Jaye for a 2-0 advantage.

Kennedy’s RBI single gave Millbrook a 3-0 lead.

The Pioneers finished the game off in the bottom of the fifth with seven runs.

Hartigan reached on a dropped third strike with one out and the flood gates opened. Kennedy drew a walk and then West and Keenan each had an RBI single to stretch the lead to 5-0.

That chased Ritter from the mound and he was relieved by Kevin Cross.

Skyline coach Jay Barnes said he was happy with how Ritter pitched.

“He started to struggle (in the fifth). His pitch count was getting up,” Barnes said. “He was starting to lose some control. He went out there and battled for us and gave us all he had.”

Tyson’s two-run single increased the lead to 7-0 with still only one out. Alec Rudolph followed with an RBI single and then Jaye finished the game off with a walk-off two-run single.

Kennedy threw only 71 pitches, struck out 11 with only one walk.

He said he knew he had the no-hitter, but was trying not to think about it too much.

The Pioneers had 10 hits, led by Jaye, West and Keenan with two each.

The Hawks (8-3, 1-2 Northwestern) also lost 10-0 to Sherando in five innings on Tuesday.

“We need to play better baseball. It’s unacceptable — twice in one week,” Barnes said. “Next week’s a new week and we need to have a better mindset.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com