Cody Brown threw two pitches.
One was fast. One was slow.
Both worked all game.
By mixing speeds and using his change-up in tough spots, Brown unfurled the best performance of his accomplished career at Gloucester Catholic.
Brown, a senior lefthander, pitched his first no-hitter to lead Gloucester Catholic to a 3-0 victory over Holy Cross on Tuesday in the Non-Public South B championship game before around 300 spectators at Overbrook.
Brown retired the first 14 batters and struck out six to lead Gloucester Catholic (30-2), the No. 1 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, to Saturday's state final against North Jersey champion Newark Academy.
"I don't think I threw two curveballs all day," Brown said. "My change-up was my money pitch."
Junior catcher Elliott McCummings broke a 0-0 tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, and junior second baseman Joe Brooks added an RBI single in the fifth for Gloucester Catholic, the defending Non-Public B champion.
Senior lefthander Jeff Singer pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits, for third-ranked Holy Cross (21-4).
"It was just a great game by both teams," Holy Cross coach Steve Paolini said. "I'm so proud of my kids. If you're going to go out, that's the way to go out."
Both teams played strong defense on Overbrook's manicured field behind senior lefthanders who entered the game with a combined record of 20-1. The only errors were on errant pickoff throws, one by each pitcher.
Holy Cross third baseman John Adryan made a couple of clutch plays on bunts, and Gloucester Catholic shortstop Rob Alessandrine had four assists, two from deep in the hole. The Rams also received good work from rightfielder Joe Santone, who made a nice catch on a deep drive in the third, and Brooks, who charged a soft grounder and threw out the batter in the third.
"When Cody's pitching like that, you don't want to let him down," said Alessandrine, who had two of the Rams' four hits.
Brown's fastball was in the 85-m.p.h. range, but his change-up disrupted the Lancers' timing. He walked three and hit two batters but escaped jams in the sixth and seventh to run his record to 11-0.
"He deserved to finish the game," Barth said of the program's all-time leader in career victories with 24.
The biggest moment of the game was in the sixth, when Holy Cross got two runners aboard with two outs for catcher Mark Zagunis, a Virginia Tech recruit who entered the game with a .679 average and a South Jersey-best 11 home runs.
After a wild pitch pushed the runners to second and third and the count to 2-1, Barth considered walking Zagunis but decided against it.
"I would have argued," Brown said. "That's not the Gloucester Catholic way. That's not me. I want to try to get the best guys out."
Brown ended the inning by using another change-up to get Zagunis to pop out.
"Cody was smart," Paolini said. "I don't doubt that if he missed with a 2-1 change-up he was coming back with a 3-1 change-up."
Holy Cross 0000000 - 001
Gloucester Catholic 000210x - 341
WP: Cody Brown. LP: Jeff Singer. 2B: GC-Rob Alessandrine. HR: GC-Elliott McCummings.