HUDSON: The Hudson baseball team did what it often does under coach Buddy Dice’s instruction: hit singles, run and pitch. The result was a 3-2 win over Highland in a Division I district semifinal Friday at the Ballpark at Hudson.
Junior Kevin Zullo took care of the latter part, throwing all seven innings and not allowing an earned run.
Highland’s only scoring came in the fourth inning and with the bases loaded and two out. A hard-hit ground ball went under the glove of an infielder on the left side and allowed two runs to score.
On offense, the Explorers stole five bases and scored all three runs thanks to bunts. The third, and decisive, run came on a safety squeeze.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hudson catcher Alex Tench singled to right field, stole second base and advanced to third on a ground ball to the right side. The safety squeeze involves a big secondary lead but the runner waits until the bunted ball is on the ground before breaking for home. Senior Alex Agra laid down a perfectly placed bunt and took the sacrifice part out of it by reaching base for a hit.
“We work on bunting, we work on hitting, it’s worked,” Dice said, when asked if his players like the small-ball techniques. “Ask them, they like winning.”
Hudson will play Brunswick in the district final at 2 p.m. today.
Brunswick 7, Twinsburg 1
Before Brunswick senior Gerry Salsbury would allow his teammates to look ahead to their senior prom Friday night, he wanted to make sure their heads were at the Ballpark at Hudson.
That’s where Brunswick faced Twinsburg in a Division I district semifinal, and that’s where Salsbury was true to his word, shutting the Tigers down in a 7-1 win on a cold day.
“We told all our seniors, look, take care of business here and then we can go have fun,” Salsbury said. “This game comes first.”
Salsbury threw all seven innings. He allowed five hits and one run and struck out seven.
Twinsburg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Brunswick answered with three runs in the second and two in the third, allowing Salsbury to cruise the rest of the way.
“[I was able to] settle into the zone and get into it,” he said. “And realize that these guys have my back and we can go play ball now. ... Quite honest with ya, I didn’t have my best stuff. I was struggling to find my fastball. But I battled through it and got through the game.”
The Blue Devils brought two runs home on an error in the second inning to grab their first lead. A third run scored that inning on senior Kyle Burson’s single to make it 3-1. In the third, senior Kyle Wheeler and sophomore Gary Clift each scored thanks to singles up the middle and some heads-up base running. Each scored from second on infield hits after hard turns at third base. Burson later singled in a run to cap the scoring in the fifth inning.
Brunswick had previously held a knack for slumping offensively when Salsbury took the mound. Friday’s game made up for it.
“These guys actually owed me a couple,” he said. “They liked to put up one-run performances when I go out there to pitch, so they really owed me one. I’m real happy the way they came out and swung the bats today; it was huge.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.