It’s the possibility you’re not supposed to speak about. Not even a whisper. But with the bright lights staring in the face of Mattituck pitcher Brendan Kent as he walked to the mound with a no-hitter in the seventh inning of a Long Island championship baseball game, there was no chance to escape what was in front of him.
“It kind of doesn’t help when there’s a huge scoreboard back there saying zeros, putting it through your head, but I mean I was confident,” Kent said. “You’ve just got to go out there and pitch like you’ve been trained to pitch.”
And Kent did just that, resulting in three soft groundouts before his teammates mobbed and tackled the senior at the mound, not only for pitching the Tuckers to a 1-0 Class B Long Island championship win over Wheatley at St. Joseph’s College, but doing so in historical fashion with a 103-pitch no-hitter on Thursday night.
“It all started in warmups, really. He looked perfect,” said Ryan Mahon, the Mattituck catcher. “This was clearly one of the best games he’s pitched all year. Catching a no-hitter on top of a Long Island championship game. Can’t get any better than that.”
Mattituck (18-6), the winner of three of the last four Class B Long Island championships, advances to play Rondout Valley at Cantine Field in Saugerties in the state quarterfinals 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Thursday’s lone run came on James McDonald’s triple to right-centerfield that drove in Bryce Grathwohl in the second inning. Kent took care of the rest.
“It feels really good, but Brendan really deserves it all because he threw a no-hitter,” McDonald said. “We only needed one run to win the game, so he’s got to get all the credit for that.”
Kent, who allowed two walks and struck out nine, is no stranger to no-hitters this postseason, tossing one in a Suffolk Class B semifinal win over Babylon May 16.
“He was just dominant out there,” coach Steve DeCaro said.
But Kent wasn’t alone controlling the mound on Thursday night. Stephen McCleary tossed a four-hitter with one walk, six strikeouts and no earned runs for Wheatley (14-8).
DeCaro was thankful Kent was able to produce on a day the Mattituck offense was struggling.
“Well, he had to do it because it seemed that we certainly couldn’t hit McCleary,” DeCaro said. “He did a great job over there.”
DeCaro added that he lets his catcher call the game, and Mahon and Kent have formed great chemistry in their first season together.
“We’re always on top of each other,” Kent said. “If I shake him off, it’s usually just because I want to get the hitter off balanced or something like that.”
“We were both on the same page the whole game,” Mahon said. “It’s just nice having a pitcher and catcher on the same page the whole game, it works.”