HUDSON — Over the years, Hudson and Walsh Jesuit baseball have played some barnburners in the Division I Hudson district tournament.
Explorers coach Buddy Dice came in expecting another classic with the Warriors, and he thought his team would have a good chance to win if it scored three runs.
Hudson got those three runs, but it was nowhere near enough.
Walsh took advantage of numerous miscues from the Explorers to score a 12-3 win in the district final Thursday at The Ballpark at Hudson.
The Warriors (25-3) advanced to play Jackson in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. May 30 at Louisville. Hudson finished the year at 23-5.
After both teams played tight games in their respective district semifinals, Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said his team did a good job taking care of opportunities.
“We were able to scratch some runs across early, which settled us down,” Kaczmar said. “It was a windy day, but our defense really stepped up and so did [senior starting pitcher] Yassir Kahook.”
Playing as the visitors, Hudson scored in the top of the first inning when center fielder Ryan Mitcheltree reached base on a three-base error. He then scored on an RBI groundout by Blake Hartline.
After that, however, Kahook (7-1) kept the Explorers in check and pitched a complete game, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits with three strikeouts.
“That’s the kind of pitcher he is,” Kaczmar said. “He’s going to throw strikes and trust in his defense to get the job done.”
By contrast, Hudson’s pitching and defense had one of their worst days of the season. Five Explorers pitchers combined to issue seven walks and three hit batters, and Hudson’s defense committed four errors.
“It’s very uncharacteristic of our pitching staff to do that,” Dice said. “The six [runs] in the second inning hurt for sure. We had to try to come back against a good team.”
Walsh tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Nick Vaccaro walked, went to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.
Walsh then scored six runs in the second to blow open the game, getting RBI singles from Aamir Qadri and Vaccaro and an RBI fielder’s choice from Jake Armsey that turned into a two-run play when Hudson threw the ball away. Nate Stahl then hit a sacrifice fly and another throwing error allowed Armsey to score and make it 7-1.
Hudson starting pitcher Parker Tallman lasted only 1 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (two earned). Of the five pitchers Hudson used, only junior closer Joe Whitman — who got the final three outs in the sixth inning — did not allow a run.
After Walsh made it 9-2 in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Erik Stahl, Hudson got a run back in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Mitcheltree and Robby Pacsi's RBI single in the sixth made it 9-3.
But any hopes of a Hudson comeback were squashed in the bottom of the sixth when a two-run single by Vacarro made it 12-3. Vacarro finished 2-of-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.