Calvert Hall’s Nick Delp isn’t a team’s typical ace. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball. It reaches 83 mph on his best day.
The essence of his game is control and pitching to contact.
Wednesday, the junior right-hander threw a no-hitter, striking out four in the Cardinals’ 5-0 victory over visiting Mount St. Joseph in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinal with a 69-pitch complete game.
For 6-foot-1, 195-pound Delp, it was his first no-hitter. He faced 22 batters.
He lost a bid for a perfect game against Archbishop Curley almost a year ago in another MIAA playoff game when a Friar doubled with two outs in the top of the seventh.
“That last batter,” Delp said. “I was thinking about it today the whole time. I just really wanted a no-hitter.”
He tossed Calvert Hall’s first no-hitter since the 2008 season.
Delp’s win raised his record to 10-1, which ties the school record for victories in a season. He has struck out 67 batters and allowed 50 hits in 73 innings while fashioning a 1.34 ERA and walking 14.
“He always has that good control,” Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl said.
The two-time defending A Conference champion Cardinals needed Delp to be at his best against Mount St. Joe (14-14).
Calvert Hall (21-6) faced getting ousted from the double-elimination tournament after losing 9-3 to Curley on Monday for the third time this season.
The Cardinals will play the host Friars again Friday in a semifinal.
Either David Gately (5-1, 3.27 ERA) or Manny Rodriguez (3-1, 1.36 ERA) are expected to be the Cardinals’ starting pitcher.
They can take some inspiration from Delp’s performance.
The game didn’t start off the way he would have liked. Clark Clatchey reached on an error, then Delp picked him off at first base.
Delp got all the run support he needed in the bottom of the first when Calvert Hall pushed across a run of pitcher Chris Harrison.
Rodriguez, the team's starting shortstop and University of Cincinnati recruit, led off with a walk, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on Brandon Dorsey’s sac fly to left field.
In the top of the second, Delp faced another challenge. Leadoff batter Ed Nottingham reached on an error.
But Delp retired the next 18 batters to finish the game.
The Cardinals went ahead 2-0 in the second on Greg Carter’s home run over the left field fence.
Calvert Hall finished its scoring in the third by adding three runs to chase Harrison, who was replaced by Tim McManus. Alex Kriss keyed the inning with a two-run single, which plated Gately and Tyler Webster.
Delp cruised through the fourth, fifth and sixth, striking out three and getting four ground outs and two fly outs.
“The defense made the plays they needed to make,” Delp said.
In the seventh, Delp retired leadoff batter Matt Sniezek on a fly ball to center field and struck out Andre Brown before Nottingham hit a deep fly to center that Troy Stokes caught on the edge of the warning track.
“I was just throwing everything for a strike,” said Delp, who throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball and change-up. "Everything was working."
MIAA A Conference quarterfinal
Archbishop Spalding 3 Archbishop Curley 2