Luray was in the midst of scoring four runs without the benefit of a hit in a wild first inning, and Waynesboro starter Taylor Sandefur needed something to go his way.
He got Ryan Lashley to ground to T.J. Kuban for out number three, then proceeded to mow down Wranglers for the next six innings, taking a no-hit bid into the seventh of an improbable 7-5 win Monday night at Mathers Park.
“Errors are part of the game. Those things are going to happen. You’ve just got to bear down and pound the zone and let your defense make plays behind you,” said Sandefur, who had among the more interesting stat lines that you’ll see to show for his efforts: seven innings pitched, five runs, one earned, two hits, eight strikeouts, three hit batters, W.
What the Waynesboro defense couldn’t do – committing a Valley League-high seven errors, six in the first three innings – the Waynesboro offense could. The Generals steadily chipped away at the first-inning fourspot off Luray starter Matt Laney, who had come into the game with a 2-0 record and 0.63 ERA, scoring a run in the first on a sacrifice fly-RBI by Chase Worthington, another in the third on another sac fly-RBI by Drew Turocy, two in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Jon Clinard and a run-scoring single by Cody Hudson, then three in the fifth on an error that allowed Worthington to score and a two-run single by Clinard that plated Alan Stoupa and Colin Harrington.
At this point, the attention shifted back to Sandefur, who still hadn’t given up a hit despite the four in the run column on the Luray part of the scoreboard.
“I had a good pace and good rhythm going,” said Sandefur, who improved to 6-0 with the win. “Alan (Stoupa, his catcher) called a good game. He called it, and I threw it. We were on the same wavelength, and we just kept it going.”
Luray catcher Nick Rickles broke up the no-hitter with a two-out flare to short left in the seventh that fell just outside the reach of Clinard. He came around to score on a single by Michael Broad before Sandefur rallied to get the last out of the inning on a strikeout of cleanup hitter Jeff Jefferson.
Despite the early trouble, Sandefur was prepared to go back out in the eighth and ninth to pursue the no-hitter.
“I want to be strong for the stretch drive, but I was ready to go back out until they got the hits in the seventh,” Sandefur said.
As for the win in a game with his D committing seven errors behind him: “Yeah, that’s a first for me,” Sandefur said, smiling. “It’s a credit to this team that we could pull together and get this one.”
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].