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Fowler Fires Cheshire's First No-Hitter Against Wallingford
By the sixth inning of the Cheshire American Legion Senior game last Saturday, pitcher Ryan Fowler realized he hadn’t given up a hit to Zone 3 rival Wallingford. As is customary in baseball, he didn’t want to jinx himself by thinking about it.
Fowler was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief upon recording the final out of a 1-0 shutout at Burt Leventhal Field. His first no-hitter included five strikeouts and walks each.
“It is hard to describe,” said Fowler, who improved to 4-0. “My fastball was on today.”
“It was great because we won 1-0. We lost to Wallingford, 9-0, last week (at Pat Wall Field),” said Cheshire Head Coach Bill Robertson.
Fowler had come close to throwing no-hitters before, including a one-hitter against Derby in his sophomore year at Cheshire High School (2011 graduate). He didn’t know his no-hitter was the first in 19 years of Cheshire Legion.
“It carries the same weight as throwing a no-hitter, but cooler to be the first one,” added Fowler.
Scoring has gone down since the state changed from wooden to aluminum bats four years ago.
“I think it makes it easier to pitch,” stated Fowler. “Wooden bats are heavier. You can do more with aluminum.”
Robertson feels that pitching every fifth day has helped Fowler dominate. In 23 innings, he has allowed three hits and a run.
“I’ve felt great since the end of the high school season,” reflected Fowler.
Fowler needed his best stuff last Saturday, since Wallingford’s Kevin Duffy gave up just four hits himself. The lone run was scored by Tim Budd, who also caught Fowler. Budd and Ryan Rougeot hit consecutive one-out singles in the third inning and then Matt Burns reached on an error to load the bases. Tyler Robertson (RBI) hit into a force play.
Cheshire loaded the bases again during the fifth. Mike Purcell drew a lead-off walk, followed by two-out singles from Burns and Robertson. However, Duffy induced a groundout.
In keeping the 1-0 lead, Fowler received strong defense. Budd threw out runners in both the fourth and sixth innings. Burns made a diving catch for the second out of the fourth. An inning later, shortstop Greg Leonetti and Robertson turned a double play to erase a walk.
“Defense is what you have to rely on,” explained Fowler, who will play at Eastern Connecticut State University. “You can’t look to strike everybody out.”
Pitching and defense have been team strengths. The day after Fowler's no-hitter, Max Slade returned from a sore back to pitch six innings. He gave up four hits in a 2-1 win over Madison. Rougeot pitched the seventh.
“I think we are on top of our game on defense,” said Fowler. “I think the bats will come along, but the transition (to wood) is hurting us right now.”
Cheshire also graduated Trinity College students Steve Howard and Brad Runowicz from last year’s first Zone 3 Championship. Both graduated from CHS in 2009.
“We are a different group than last year. Brad and Steve would always come up with that clutch extra-base hit with runners in scoring position,” recalled Coach Robertson. “We’ll still contend for the Zone again.”
Cheshire (9-2-1) hosts Westbrook tonight at 5:45 p.m.
Fowler's photo taken by Al Valerio/Cheshire Herald.