Hudson 4, Aurora 1
CANTON: The eighth inning continues to be a winner for the Hudson baseball team.
Hudson scored three runs in the eighth Thursday to defeat Aurora 4-1 in a Canton Division I regional semifinal at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.
The Explorers’ three-run eighth comes a week after a five-run eighth in an 8-3 victory over Walsh Jesuit in a district final.
“It is better late than never,” Hudson coach Buddy Dice said with a smile.
Hudson will play Jackson in a regional final at 5 p.m. today at Munson.
Hudson (26-4) scored three runs in the eighth with four walks, one hit batter and one hit. Senior Joey Cahill walked in junior Jake Stuursma, senior Kevin Zullo hit into a groundout that allowed senior Braden Wright to score and junior Jacob McKenzie hit a bunt single that brought in Joseph.
Hudson tied the score at 1-1 in the seventh courtesy of senior Nanak Saran, who started the inning with a single, took second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Jacob McKenzie and scored following an errant throw where he was caught between second and third bases.
“We stay in it and make the other team make the play,” Saran said. “Thankfully, they threw it away. … The center fielder made one heck of a throw, but [the catcher] was a little bit up the line so I slid to the outside part and I got my hand in.”
Zullo (6-1) pitched a complete game and struck out nine.
“We played hard the whole game,” Zullo said. “The [Saran] run might have been a little bit lucky, but I think it really made up for the quality at-bats we had all game. Nanak, Stuursma and [junior] Travis Wood put together quality at-bats all game long.”
Aurora (20-9) took a 1-0 lead in the sixth after freshman Ben Stawicki reached via an error. Junior Logan Roliff pinch-ran, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Carter Semancik and scored when junior Matt Carpenter delivered a two-out single.
“We practiced six straight days running our plays,” Aurora coach Tim Deering said. “We had the 21st out. We had him on a daylight pick play and Nanak came off the base and we had the opportunity to seal it and we had an error. We are built on defense and pitching.”
Jackson 3, Mentor 2
Jackson (23-5) denied Mentor (17-8) a steal of home plate in the seventh to win.
Jackson senior left-hander Tim Turner earned his first save by getting the final two outs, which included tossing out sophomore Andrew Valeri attempting to steal home on a double steal with one out where junior Tyler Thompson went from first to second.
“Hudson beat us on that earlier in the season, so we worked on it a little bit,” Turner said. “I just saw my first baseman [senior Brennan Dingler] pointing at home and I kept my composure and got the ball down to [senior catcher AJ Kloehn] who put the tag on him.
“It was a huge risk. It was shocking.”
Jackson tied it 1-1 in the third when senior Seth Vellucci singled in senior Kyle Mottice. The Bears took the lead in the fourth following singles by senior Jake Sima, Dingler and Mottice. Senior Mitch Aman scored on Mottice’s single and Dingler scored on a balk.
Jackson sophomore Sam Miller (7-0) pitched 6⅓ innings and got the win.
“Things didn’t go perfect for our guys, but you noticed they didn’t panic,” Jackson coach Bill Gamble said. “That shows guys have been in those situations before and it shows the senior leadership.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.