CANTON: His teammates provided the early scoring boost and senior left-hander Tim Turner did the rest.

The reward is Jackson’s first trip to the state final four, defeating Hudson 5-2 in the Canton Division I regional final Friday at Thurman Munson Stadium.

“It means everything,” Turner said. “It’s our first time in our history. It’s huge for the program.”

Turner (7-0) fired a called third strike past the last batter in the seventh, and was immediately swarmed by his teammates in a giant pile at the center of the diamond.

“I’m just so happy to do it with these guys, the senior class,” said Turner, a George Mason University recruit. “We deserved it. We worked really, really hard for this. I’m just so happy to see it pay off.”

Jackson (24-5) scored three runs on four hits in the first, and Turner made it stand up, pitching a complete-game four-hitter with seven strikeouts. He walked one and hit two batters.

The Polar Bears will play in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at Huntington Park in Columbus.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the Explorers found themselves battling uphill the rest of the way. Hudson (26-5) scored a run in the second, fell behind 4-1 in the fourth and narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the sixth before the Polar Bears scored an insurance run in their half.

Pinch-hitter Travis Wood drove in Hudson’s sixth-inning run with a two-out single and it appeared that junior Dean Miller was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. But after a conference, the umpires decided that Miller foul-tipped the ball and had to return to the plate.

He eventually flied out to end the inning and the Explorers were retired in order in the seventh.

“The home-plate umpire said the ball hit the bat and the batter,” Hudson coach Buddy Dice said. “Because the ball should have been dead as soon as it hit the batter and because the batter did not swing. I’m still confused as to how they made that call but we’ve got to live with it.”

After failing to score in the first, the Hudson hitters were unable to solve Turner, Dice said.

“Their pitcher was phenomenal today,” Dice said. “He scattered four hits and it’s hard to score runs with four hits. We were lucky to get two.”

Hudson was seeking its first trip to the state tournament since 1997. The Explorers have not won a state title.

“It always hurts to lose your last game,” Dice said. “But a great group of seniors, great underclassmen. They play the game well. They do everything we ask. Just more than proud of all of them.”

Jackson pounded out 11 hits, led by senior second baseman Kyle Mottice. The leadoff batter went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Seniors Seth Vellucci and Mike McCann both had two hits.

Mattice topped it off in the last inning, racing into foul ground to make a sliding catch of a popup for the first out.

“I know we had three outs until we made history, so I knew I had to go get it,” Mottice said. “Just giving my all. I felt great. Today was just my day and I was feeling it.

“Whenever we come out hot, we usually win. So we knew once we got three in the first inning, we knew that was enough for Tim.”

Jackson coach Bill Gamble said “great team leadership” made all the difference.

“Guys bought in,” he said. “They believed in what we were doing. They were willing to sacrifice and do the things you need to do to be a championship team. These guys did it.”

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