Rafalski fires no-hitter against LeBoeuf, Dragons triumph
ERIE, Pa. – Ryan Rafalski is putting it all together at the right time for the Warren Dragons.
In a season full of solid pitching performances to date, the junior took it to another level against Fort LeBoeuf on Tuesday, hurling a no-hitter and striking out 11 in the process at Ainsworth Field.
Rafalski was dominant, needing just 87 pitches in his masterpiece.
“He had really good command today,” Warren coach Rick Eaton said of Rafalski. “His fastball and curveball were real good. He probably had six of his strikeouts on the curveball. He was on his ‘A’ game.”
And as is often the case, there was a defense gem that helped preserve the no-no. That came courtesy of left fielder Ryan Arnold, who made a running catch in the fifth inning.
“That was a big catch to save the no-hitter, and there was a runner on second so it would have made it 3-1,” Eaton said.
Offensively, all of Warren’s (11-4 overall, 4-3 Region 7) runs came in the third inning against LeBoeuf (3-9, 2-5) ace Derrick Shields.
Mitch Grosch singled and Micah Passmore doubled to put runners on second and third for Morrison, who laced a 1-out double to make it 2-0.
“That was a huge hit by Aidan,” Eaton said. “He squared it up and hit it over the center fielder’s head.”
Rafalski helped his own cause with an RBI single with two outs that brought in pinch-runner Alex Borger.
Over his last four games, Rafalski is 7-for-12 with 10 RBI at the plate.
Outside of that inning, Shields did good work against the mighty Dragon offensive attack, striking out six and walking just one.
The win was a big bounce back for the Dragons, after Harbor Creek snapped their 6-game winning streak the day before.
They have two more games this week, both at home, against St. Marys on Friday and Meadville on Saturday.
“We’re about where I thought we would be,” Eaton said. “In terms of the playoffs, it’s wide open.”
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Grosch ss 4-1-1-0, Passmore 3b 3-1-2-0, Cummings dh 4-0-1-0, Morrison c 3-0-1-2, Baldensperger cf 2-0-0-0, Rafalski p 3-0-1-0, Arnold lf 3-0-0-0, Berdine 1b 3-0-0-0, Gustafson 2b 3-0-0-0, Totals 28-3-5-3
FORT LEBOEUF (0)
Jarrett cf 3-0-0-0, Withers lf 3-0-0-0, Huck c 3-0-0-0, Dauson 3b 3-0-0-0, Proctor 1b 3-0-0-0, Shields p 2-0-0-0, Foltz ss 2-0-0-0, Cross rf 1-0-0-0, Clark rf 1-0-0-0, Totals 22-0-0-0,
Warren 003 000 0 – 3 6 1
Fort LeBoeuf 000 000 0 – 0 0 1
2B – Passmore (W), Cummings (W), Morrison (W)
IP H R ER BB SO
Rafalski (W, 3-3) 7 0 0 0 2 11
Shields (L) 7 5 3 3 1 6
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JV: Fort LeBoeuf 5, Warren 4
James Swanson and Ryan Arnold each drove in a run, but the Dragons’ JV squad fell by 1-run.
J.T. Blum went three innings on the mound, striking out one and allowing three runs. Ethan Wilson tossed two innings with a pair of strikeouts and Hunter Loomis struck out one in his inning of work.
Bryce Blair had two hits for the Dragons, and Alex Borger and Nick Hussey had one each.