In between innings of Columbian's sectional semifinal game with Shelby, TC starting pitcher Nick Loura approached teammate Daniel Wood.
"Do I have a no-hitter going?" Loura said he asked Wood.
It was a good person to ask. Wood threw a no-hitter less than 48 hours earlier against Norwalk, but had taken the loss because of a pair of unearned runs.
On Saturday, Columbian was in control of the game, taking a lead in the first inning and never looking back.
But when Loura inquired about a no-hitter Saturday, Wood wasn't willing to discuss it.
"He said, 'No. Go walk away,'" Loura said.
Loura had his no-hit bid broken up in the seventh inning. By that time, he was aware he had one going. And so did most everyone else.
"It's hard not to think about those things," Columbian coach Curt Mellott said. "When you think about it, our last game was a no-hitter. The game previous here, Willard-Lexington was a no-hitter. Some stars really aligned there. We were hopeful, but obviously winning was the most important thing for us."
No-hitters are a fascinating thing, not so much for how the pitchers themselves react, but how everyone around them reacts. It's long been a tradition in baseball (and softball, for that matter) not to mention the words "no-hitter" when one is being pitched.
Earlier this week in Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's (don't get me started on that name) Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter. Angels' television announcer Victor Rojas caught some flack for not mentioning the starting pitcher was throwing one. That's baseball superstition. Indians' announcer Tom Hamilton, by contrast couldn't mention the words "no-hitter" enough during the Angels' Erwin Santana's gem last summer. Hamilton obviously doesn't buy into the idea of a jinx.
I've experienced a little of this. A few years ago, when Cliff Lee was still with the Indians, he had not allowed a hit through seven innings. I made note of it on a social media site. When Lee promptly gave up a hit, a number of friends blamed me for Lee not getting the no-hitter. A few years earlier in college, I was covering a Bowling Green State University softball game. When I asked - just asked - if the opposing team had a hit off the Falcons' pitcher, I was admonished as I would have been had I been wearing a Toledo Rockets sweatshirt in the press box.
Superstitions aside, a no-hitter is one of those things that separates baseball from other sports. Last spring, when the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander was pitching in the ninth inning in Toronto, many of the fans - presumably Blue Jays' fans - were standing and cheering. Verlander hadn't allowed a hit, and didn't allow a hit for his second no-hitter. There was no announcement over the loudspeaker to the fans that something special was happening. But the fans were well aware of what was going on. All they had to see was that zero on the scoreboard where the hits should be, and they knew.
No-hitters always will be special. But I'm guessing no matter how many we see, and no matter where we see them, a few things are certain.
* Most people in the ballpark will know what what's happening.
* Few will dare talk about it.
Gotta love this game.