STOW: A sign inside Stow’s dugout Wednesday listed a couple of goals to fulfill against Hudson, one of which read “Apply Pressure.”
The Bulldogs (6-11) applied about as much pressure as humanly possible without winning in a 5-4 loss to the visiting Explorers (16-1).
Stow had 11 hits. The Bulldogs were given extra chances thanks to four Hudson errors. They gained and held the lead from the first inning through the fifth. And down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh in a one-run game, they had the bases loaded.
As the story has gone this season for first-year coach Bryan Celik, it just wasn’t quite enough.
Wednesday’s loss is Stow’s sixth one-run loss this year and the eighth time the Bulldogs have had at least the tying run at the plate in the last inning.
Still, no loss has been as tough to accept as this one.
“This one was the proverbial kick in the stomach,” Celik said. “We left 14 guys on base, and you can’t do that against a good team like Hudson. We didn’t clutch up or make the plays when we needed to.”
Stow junior starting pitcher Troy Johnson was fantastic through 5⅓ innings before losing his command a bit and leaving the game. From there, the Bulldogs committed three errors and Hudson scored all five of its runs in the final two innings.
“The way we play, we like to bunt and we like to run the bases and you can’t do those things when you can’t get on base. But we’re going to be aggressive,” Hudson coach Chuck Schilling said. “That’s part of our whole demeanor offensively. In the later innings, we were able to square the ball up and hit it a little harder.”
Hudson got two runners into scoring position in the top of the sixth thanks to an error, a walk and a wild pitch. Starting catcher Mitch Schoenman’s arm was bothering him too much to swing, so junior Alex Trench pinch hit for him. Trench connected and hit a hard grounder up the middle that bounced off second base and ricocheted into right field, scoring both runners and tying the score.
In the top of the seventh, Hudson put two runners in scoring position in nearly the same fashion — a walk, an error and a wild pitch.
Senior Duncan Moran’s line drive down the left-field line went off the glove of left fielder Brian Groves, though it was a nice play to even get to the ball. Hudson took a 4-2 lead and extended it to 5-2 on senior C.J. Toshino’s single.
Stow quickly “applied pressure” once again in the bottom of the seventh. Kevin Schirra (2-for-3) opened the inning with a double, and two walks later the Bulldogs had the bases loaded. Junior Bryan Reginald (1-3, three RBI) cut Stow’s deficit to 5-4 with a two-run single to left field.
Senior Alex Barry — who made an incredible throw from center field to home plate to nab a runner earlier in the game to keep Hudson scoreless — was then hit by a pitch to again load the bases with two out.
Coach Schilling brought in Toshino to close against sophomore Mike Urban. Toshino got Urban to ground out to second to end the game.
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.