CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- St. Albans starting pitcher Austin Harless tossed five no-hit innings before surrendering his first hit Wednesday, eventually combining with teammate Joey Dodrill in an 8-0 win against Capital.
Harless moved with ease through the Capital lineup until he allowed back-to-back runners to reach to lead off the sixth inning. The blemish proved to be a blip on Harless' performance, though, as Dodrill entered to strand the runners and later cemented the win against visiting Capital at Loftis Field.
"I was throwing my pitches for strikes and my defense was behind me backing me up," Harless said of his game.
Harless entered the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead in hand and had not yet allowed a hit, unbeknownst to him.
"I had no clue," Harless said. "I don't try and think about that kind of stuff."
Capital's No. 8 hitter Brandon Thomas ended the no-hit bit, though, leading off the sixth inning with an infield hit that fell flat behind the second base bag. Red Dragons shortstop Clark Bryant fielded the ball cleanly and threw to first, but Thomas beat the ball to the bag. The single proved to be the Cougars' lone hit of the game.
Harless walked the next batter in the sixth before Dodrill entered in relief, retiring three in a row to end the threat.
Capital Coach Robert Massey said while the Cougars (5-8) hitters made contact, the St. Albans defense thwarted any opportunities.
"We had a decent approach at the plate," Massey said. "We put the ball in play. We didn't strike out very many times as a team. We put the ball in play and St. Albans made the plays. They made more routine plays than we did and they got to 21 outs faster."
Harless finished with just two strikeouts, but more importantly, St. Albans Coach Rick Whitman said he pitched to contact and let the Red Dragons (9-3) defense work behind him.
That's a philosophy Whitman said his coaching staff preaches to each of the team's pitchers.