Double no-no is a historic moment for Central Arizona College

It doesn’t happen often, and as it’s happening, it’s one of those things you just don’t talk about.

Central Arizona College pitchers Niccoli Blank and Tatum Hendrix each threw no-hitters for the Vaqueros — in the same April 13 doubleheader.

“I had never heard of it (being done) before,” Central Arizona coach Jon Wente said of the double no-no.

It has been done before, but it’s rare. An Internet search turned up a few doubleheader gems — in 2009, St. Augustine College of Cary, N.C., defeated Lincoln University in a doubleheader no-hitter, and Freed-Hardeman University pulled off the double in 2010.

In February of this year, Blue Mountain (Miss.) College recorded back-to-back no-hitters in a doubleheader, the first two no-hitters in the program’s three-year history.

It was a first for the Vaqueros (39-13), ranked 17th in this week’s NJCAA Division I baseball poll, and one they won’t soon forget.

Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College (42-8) is No. 1 for the first time in the program’s history. Cowley County (Kan.) Community College (37-8) is second, Delgado (La.) Community College (40-8) is third, and defending national champion Iowa Western (34-10) is fourth.

“In the first game, the kid (Blank) that threw the no-hitter had thrown a no-hitter already this year,” Wente said. “In those type of situations, everything is a little tight, and the kid comes in and nobody wants to talk to him.

“When balls are hit, everybody is a little more nervous, but in Game 1, because he’d done it before, things were a little different; guys knew how to handle it.”

In the second game, Glendale scored a run in the third inning on a pair of Central Arizona errors, which make the no-hitter take on a different feel.

“You didn’t necessarily feel like it was a no-hitter,” Wente said. “With giving up the run, nobody was thinking about it right away. In the last couple of innings I think our offense kind of said, ‘Let’s get it to a seven-inning game and 10-run rule them,’ just because they figured it out in the middle part of the game.”

Central Arizona won the first game 10-0 and the second 14-1.

“Coach (Dave) Grant, obviously is a really good guy and a really good coach,” Wente said of the Hall of Fame coach at Glendale. “When we shook hands after the game he said, ‘Hey, at least we were a part of history.’ He had the right approach to it.

“Coach Grant had a tough week. Scottsdale has a really good pitching staff, and they faced a left-hander who throws low 90s on Tuesday, and they got shut out; they got a couple of hits, but he had a real tough week that week as far as the offense goes.”

Teams are entering their final weeks of the regular season, with conference, regional and district playoffs starting in May as they attempt to qualify for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series from May 25 to June 1 at Suplizio Field.

The first round of qualifiers won’t be determined until mid-May. The Gulf District in Florida, which has always played its tournament the first week of May, moved to May 10–14.

The Central (Kansas) and Southern (Texas) district tournaments are also May 10–14, with the other seven districts qualifying between May 16–20.

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