Centennial right-hander David Hudson said he didn't bring his "good stuff" to the mound yesterday in the Class 3A, Region III final at Druid Hill Park.
But his mediocre stuff proved more than adequate.
The junior used a hard fastball and a biting curve to hurl his first career no-hitter, allowing just one ball out of the infield in leading the fourth-seeded Eagles to a 7-0 win over host and second seed Carver.
Centennial advanced to Tuesday's state semifinal at Arundel, where the Eagles, who will be seeded fourth, will meet top seed Watkins Mill of Montgomery County.
Hudson (4-2) struck out eight, baffling the Bears (11-5) with a sharp-breaking curve that induced awkward swings and nine ground outs. They reached base on two walks and four Centennial errors.
Though his day wasn't quite perfect, Hudson said it went a lot better than he thought it might.
"The mound wasn't that good, and I really didn't feel like I had my stuff," he said. "My slurve wasn't working, and I didn't feel so good out there. I just tried to use my fastball to set up my curve."
He said he realized he had a no-hitter going in about the fourth inning, and that his heart skipped a beat an inning later when Carver's Brodrick Wooden hit a soft bouncer over his head and toward the hole that shortstop Kurt Weitzel fielded and threw wildly past first baseman Kevin O'Connor.
After the game, umpire Mike Rosen said that a good throw would have made the play "too close to call," ruling it a two-base error despite Carver's contention that it was a hit.
It was a good break for a team that has had its share of bad ones.
Last season, the Eagles (13-7) missed making the playoffs with a loss on the final day of the season.
Catcher Jason Babcock, on the receiving end of his second no-hitter -- his first came in summer ball -- said the game's importance made Hudson's feat more impressive.
"It's just a thrill," said Babcock, who called most of the pitches. "He usually struggles with the curve, but he had it today. It's nice to see him do it in such a big game."
The pitcher got plenty of support, as Centennial scored four runs in the second, one in the fourth and two in the sixth.
Babcock led the offensive attack with two doubles and three RBI, Chris Forstner had a home run, and Weitzel and Matt Lynch added RBI singles.
Hudson said he was thankful for the support. After last season's heartbreak, he said that some of his friends on the highly successful Centennial soccer team jokingly began to razz the baseball players for not making the playoffs.
After yesterday's performance, Hudson now has something to brag about to them and quite a memory for himself.