SOLON — All season long, Jeff Kurtz has drilled his players to focus on one pitch, one at-bat and one play at a time.

On Wednesday, the veteran Hudson softball coach took a brief break from such tunnel vision, and why not? The Explorers have a chance to win their first district title in eight years.

Top-seeded Hudson advanced to the Solon Division I district final with a 2-0 victory over fourth-seeded Boardman at Roxbury Elementary. The Explorers (19-1), who played in their first district semifinal game in three years, are scheduled to play second-seeded Solon in Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. district final. 

It will be Hudson's first appearance in a district final since 2011 when it captured the championship in Akron.

“I’m happy for the kids,” Kurtz said. “They’ve worked really hard. They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. [Wednesday] was another example of them coming out and doing what they needed to do.”

It certainly doesn’t hurt having a once-in-a-generation talent like Maddie Roukey.

The sophomore right-hander, who had been ill in recent weeks, felt more like herself and, as a result, the Spartans (17-8) didn’t have much of a chance. Roukey (10-1) allowed just two hits and finished with nine strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.

“It’s so exciting,” Roukey said. “We were all super excited for this game. We’re ready to go out and play our best [Thursday].”

The Explorers didn’t have a particularly easy time with Spartans freshman starter Madison Lester, who was just as stellar as her counterpart as Hudson had to use some creativity to score some runs.

Freshman Hannah McCray got things started in the third inning when she smashed a double to the fence in center. Lester got a strikeout and appeared to be on her way to getting out of the jam when she fielded a bunt by Hudson freshman Laurel Gomersal. Lester took a peek at McCray, who was several feet away from third base, and then threw to first.

But the speedy Gomersal beat the throw, and McCray took off for home immediately after Lester let the ball go. McCray ended up scoring without a throw.

The Explorers used some more bold baserunning to score a crucial insurance run in the sixth. Freshman Katie Carrillo led off the inning with a bloop single and found herself on second when Roukey followed with a bullet off the glove of a leaping Jenna Olexa. Hudson’s lone senior, Cami Madar, followed with a deep fly ball that was caught near the fence by senior center fielder Vanessa Roush.

But Roush stumbled after she made the catch and Carrillo, who turned on the jets as soon as the catch was made, scored from second.

The Explorers finished with just five hits and committed an error, but they did what they needed to do in their biggest game to date.

“We played a very solid game on both sides of the ball,” Kurtz said. “The girls deserve a chance to play for a district championship.”