They’re ranked #1 for a reason.
The Tyler Junior College baseball team hasn’t missed a beat, opening their season with signature aplomb. The highly anticipated season opener left the doubters speechless as they defeated Centenary JV in a doubleheader sweep. Like a well-oiled machine, the team scored six runs and proved to be worthy of their #1 spot in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Division III ranking. However, the night’s star was pitcher Cody Brown, who threw a no-hitter in the first game.
It was a night when thermometers held their numbers low and the stands were packed with fans wrapped in layers. The famous Mike Carter Field glistened with a frozen mist as Cody Brown stood face the face with the cold elements, despite the risks to his arm.
“Anytime it’s cold, there’s always that opportunity for injury, because muscles aren’t as loose as we would like,” said Baseball Head Coach Doug Wren.
Throwing on a cold night is not easy for any pitcher. Major League players that have faced similar circumstances called it “dangerous.” The pain to the arms and joints is always a risk, but also the pain inflicted to dry hands plays a role in the difficulty of throwing an icy ball at night. Grip can also be affected, and this plays into the hands of the batter, who is always looking to exploit a pitcher’s weaknesses.
“It’s like 50 degrees outside, so your arm can get tight really quick,” Brown said. “I was wearing three quarters sleeve, so I didn’t have full sleeves on.”
Despite everything that stood in his face, Brown took his game to the next level, leaving batter after batter in his wake and watching them take the walk of shame towards their dugout. Emotions were high, but Brown was focused on helping his team get the win, ignoring his personal stats.
Pitching a no-hitter in a game is a rare feat that only few pitchers have accomplished. Opening day was the perfect stage for Brown to add his name to this list. He was a major contributor to the victory of the team, even catching the last out to seal the win.
“It was just great,” Brown said. “What a better way to start off the season than with a no-hitter on our first game. Not many people can say they’ve done that.”
Coach Wren fiddled with the idea of taking Brown out in order to preserve his arm, but when he realized what he was witnessing, he made the executive decision that led to this remarkable piece of history being written into the memoirs of TJC baseball.
“Typically, opening day expectations aren’t that your guy is going to go out and throw a no-hitter,” Wren said. “We hadn’t even planned to throw him the whole game, but as the game unfolded and he had his no hitter intact, we couldn’t take him out.”
Thanks to the decision by Coach Wren, Brown was able to complete the game. It was Brown himself that caught the final out and sealed the win.
“I didn’t even realize what was going on until like the fifth inning,” Brown said. “I had two quick innings and then I rolled over to first base and caught the last out from Derek Clemons. After that, I knew I had done it. It was something I always wanted to do, and it came true.”
The TJC Baseball team hooped and hollered at the close of the final inning. In one moment, Mike Carter Field swelled into an atmosphere of celebration. Brown was showered with the congratulations of his brothers, but said he felt most honored by the presence of his father, mother and grandmother, who attended the game and were able to witness this special moment in his life. Brown dedicated the game ball to his father, a player himself.
“When I was a little kid, my dad was a baseball player,” Brown said. “He wanted me to become a baseball player, because that’s what he really wanted to do. He paid for lessons and paid for everything I did. Everything after that just went uphill. I gave him the game ball. I know he was proud of me, and that meant a lot.”
Brown recently committed to Sam Houston State University He played 19 games last semester, winning his last eight games in a row.