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Purcellville Cannons halt losing skid, clinch playoff berth

Andrue Hughart delivered a quality start in Purcellville’s 2-1 home victory against Front Royal.—Times-Mirror/Mike Walgren
Coming off a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Charlottesville TomSox, the Purcellville Cannons (23-14, first place in the North Division) looked to end their four-game losing streak and clinch a playoff berth for the 2017 season.

To do that, Purcellville took on the Front Royal Cardinals (16-22, fifth place in the North) and looked to make it a perfect 6-0 season sweep of the Cardinals.

The Cannons sent Andrue Hughart to the mound. The game started out strong for the Cannons as Hughart set the Cardinals down in order in the top of the first inning.

Nolan Ritchie led off the Cannons half of the first with a walk. Gabriel Castillo came to the plate and blasted a pitch down the left-field line for a two-run homer, his first of the summer.

Runs have been hard to come by for Purcellville during the losing streak, and not much changed in this game. The Cannons had their opportunities to add to the lead, but good pitching from the Cardinals stymied the Cannons’ bats. Fortunately, the pitching for the Cannons was lockdown.

The Cardinals were able to put one run up on the board. In the third inning, Hughart gave up a leadoff single and walked the next two hitters to load the bases. The lineup card turned back over to the top of the order where second baseman, Jordan Greene hit an RBI single that scored Joseph McGuinness, who led off the inning with a single.

The score would hold at 2-1, as Hughart threw 6.1 innings, gave up four hits, one earned run, three walks, and struck out five hitters.

Tom Sutera came in relief, his first appearance since July 15. Sutera threw 2.2 innings, gave up only one hit and struck out four hitters to earn the save, his third of the season.

With the win, the Cannons' lead atop the North increased to two games with second-place New Market falling to Winchester, 16-15, on Friday.

Following road games at Woodstock and Strasburg this weekend, the Cannons return home Monday to face Covington in a make-up game from July 5.

Gabriel Castillo's two-run homer in the first inning gave the Cannons the lead for good.--Times-Mirror/Mike Walgren

Trey McDyre charges toward a bunt attempt. McDyre, a Loudoun Valley High School alum, is in his first season of playing for the Purcellville Cannons.--Times-Mirror/Mike Walgren

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