PALMYRA — Sibling rivalries are a big part of growing up for many teenagers — especially Fluvanna County’s Kevin Ward.
Ward and his identical twin brother, Andrew, constantly compete against one another to see who is the best.
Kevin Ward got some bragging rights on his “older” brother (by seven minutes) last week when he threw his third career no-hitter during a 10-0 road victory over Powhatan.
The junior southpaw fanned seven betters and yielded just three walks to secure the milestone victory and Schewels Athlete of the Week honors.
Ward said his command was on point against Powhatan.
“I think hitting my quality spots was a big strength for that game,” Ward said.
The victory helped extend the Flucos’ winning streak to 13 games as they head into the final week of the regular season.
As Ward was cruising against Powhatan, he was not aware that he was closing in on a milestone performance.
“My coach told me in the fifth inning that I was throwing a no-hitter,” Ward said. “He quick said, ‘Oh crap, I shouldn’t have told you that.’”
The news didn’t affect Ward, who wrapped up the accomplishment with two hitless innings.
Ward has become proficient in moments like these. In his young career, he’s already thrown a perfect game and also been part of a combined no-hitter. Two weeks ago, he took a no-no into the sixth inning against Orange County during a 4-0 win. He allowed just two hits in six innings and struck out eight against a very potent Hornets lineup.
“When pitching, I go out there and stay calm and throw my game,” Ward said. “I like to throw my curve ball, it’s my most effective pitch. When my changeup is on, that’s also very effective.”
Baseball has always played a large role in Ward’s life.
“I started playing baseball when I was three years old,” he said. “I played basketball and football, however, but decided that baseball was my sport of choice because of my love for the game.”
Ward has been one of the top baseball players in the Jefferson District for the past two seasons.
Last spring, he was a first team all-district selection at first base and was named to the Class 3 Region C second team at the position.
The Flucos captured the Class 3C regional title for the first time in the program’s history last spring and earned a trip to the state semifinals.
Ward takes great pride in his performance, both on the hill and at first base.
“I enjoy pitching and playing first base equally,” Ward said. “When I’m pitching, I feel like I’m in control of the game. When I’m at first, I’m part of the defense and an important corner player.”
This season, Ward has posted a 5-1 record with an eye-popping 67 strikeouts in 45 innings of work. He has given up 13 hits and walked eight while surrendering just one earned run all season.
“I have my own style of pitching,” Ward said. “I don’t try to follow anyone else’s style. I’ve tried using more lower half of my body this year to increase my velocity.”
At the plate, he’s been just as efficient.
The junior boasts a .481 batting average with 25 hits and 18 RBI.
“I feel that my bat this year is also very effective,” Ward said. “I like both equally because it helps my team out.”
Off the diamond, Ward enjoys the outdoor life.
“I love to hunt, fish and go mud-bogging,” he said. “I work for an excavating company on the weekends and during the summer.”
Aside from outdoor activities, Ward said his favorite class in school is carpentry.
“I’m a hard-working teenager that would do anything for anybody,” Ward said.
His prowess on the diamond has caught the eyes of college coaches throughout the commonwealth. He’s received interest from numerous programs and is currently entertaining his options.
Ward enjoys the camaraderie with his team, especially with his brother Andrew. He said the two of them have a unique bond that is unmatched.
“I think having my brother on the team is sometimes annoying,” he said. “But at the same time, he helps me a lot with my pitching mechanics, especially after [Andrew had] Tommy John surgery [as a freshman].”
After playing in the state tournament for the first time last season, Fluvanna County is eager to for another shot. Coach Joel Gray’s team has posted an impressive 15-2 record. The Flucos have won 13 straight games and are closing in on a Jefferson District regular season title.
“I think our season is going pretty well,” Ward said. “I think we need to hit the ball consistently. I’d like to see us win these last three [regular season] games and move on to states. One game at a time.”