Ben Winter just missed by inches tying three state public school records for no-hitters and settled for a one-hitter as No. 3 Centennial routed visiting Hammond, 12-2, in five innings yesterday.
A single in the first inning by Hammond third baseman Travis Clark spoiled the effort by Winter, who was seeking to equal state marks for consecutive, season and career no-hitters - three each.
Third baseman Dan Powers hesitated on his jump, missing it by inches as it went into left field, scoring courtesy runner Sam Beatty from second base. Clark's brother Ty had been hit by a pitch, and Beatty came in for him and stole second.
It was the first hit off Winter this season. The senior left-hander, who is heading to Towson University, is 3-0 with the two no-hitters. An All-Metro performer last season, he struck out nine as Centennial improved to 6-1.
There was a mild dispute after the game as to whether to score a hit for Clark. Centennial coach Dennis Ahearn said the ball touched Powers' glove and the play should be ruled an error. He was the only one who thought that.
Hammond coach Mike Lerner said: "It was definitely a hit, no doubt about it."
Winter agreed. "It was a one-hitter as far as I'm concerned," he said.
A third straight no-hitter would have been nice, Winter said, but "[the first two] really haven't been that big a deal." However, he added, "They have helped my confidence-building and convinced me that I can do what I need to do."
Ahearn, whose home scoring book had the final say, called it a hit after Lerner's objection. Lerner also said that Winter "is the best all-around player I've ever seen" in Howard County.