ELKIN— Senior ace Joseph Lowder silenced the Bucking Elks’ bats for seven innings, tossing a complete game, no-hitter at Elkin on Tuesday night to earn a 4-0 victory.
Lowder struck out 16 batters while giving up just four base runners, three on walks and one hit batter.
“Since I’ve been here at Ashe, I feel like that start was his best game that I’ve seen him throw. And I know he can throw better than that too,” said Ashe County head coach Mike Windish. “His velocity was up maybe two to three miles-per-hour than what it has been the past few games. The other team’s bats just couldn’t catch up with him.”
The Huskies did all of its offensive damage in the first two innings. Turtle Windish and Kendall Richardson scored in the first inning to give Ashe a 2-0 lead.
In the second, the frame started off with a hit from Tate Hudler. Garrett Miller bunted Hudler to second, then Hudler went to third on a ground out from Lowder. With two outs, Bradley Richie came through with an RBI single that scored Hudler. Next up, Windish blasted an RBI triple to score the final run of the night.
Four runs were more than enough for Lowder to sail through the remaining five innings for the win.
“Joseph is going to continue to work this season and I think we will see even better games from him later in the season,” said Windish.
Overall, the Huskies are 7-6 and have finished the first half of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference season with a 4-3 record. Ashe has won four of its last five conference games.
“I think our players are playing with a little more confidence right now. In our minds, I think we might have been playing not to lose instead of playing to win earlier in the season,” said Windish.
The team has been working on more defensive fundamentals in practice and spending more time hitting off of live pitching in practice.
“We’re spending a little extra time fine-tuning what we got away from during those stretches of playing three games a week,” said Windish. “We just had a lack of time on the practice field.”
The Huskies have two home games coming up next week as the team breaks into the second half of MVAC games. Ashe will host Wilkes Central on Tuesday and East Wilkes on Friday.
“Our pitching has been outstanding all year. I think now that our bats are starting to square the ball up and our defense is playing freely, we’re starting to support our pitching,” said Windish. “That’s going to be a huge part of the second half of conference play.”
Last week, Ashe earned a 7-2 victory over Alleghany on Friday. Ashe lost to West Wilkes by an 8-1 score on Tuesday and lost a non-conference game at Avery by a 6-1 score on Wednesday. Richie and Lowder had two hits, Miller and Ben Brown each added a hit and Will Taylor had a hit in the Avery game.
*As of April 5
1. Wilkes Central: 10-4, 6-1
2. West Wilkes: 10-4, 5-2
3. Ashe County: 7-6, 4-3
4. Elkin: 9-5, 4-3
5. Starmount: 6-8, 4-3
6. Alleghany: 6-6, 3-4
7. East Wilkes: 3-12, 1-6
8. North Wilkes: 4-10, 1-6
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87