by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
When the Twinsburg baseball team hosted Hudson April 9 at Dodge Field, it was a matchup of two teams off to very good starts.
Both teams came in at 4-0 and had shown an affinity for putting up a lot of runs.
Something had to give in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division opener for both teams.
The Tigers fought back from a 3-1 deficit, only to see the Explorers rally to score a thrilling 6-5 win in eight innings.
Hudson improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Valley Division.
Twinsburg dropped to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the division.
"I thought [starting pitcher] Nanak Saran did a good job," Explorers head coach Buddy Dice said.
"That's a very good hitting baseball team and we were able to keep them under control.
Tigers head coach Don Jones was frustrated after the game.
"We should have won that game," he said. "We need to have better at bats in critical situations.
"It was a typical Twinsburg-Hudson game. We knew they were never going to stop."
The Explorers only put up one run an inning, but they did so six different times.
Hudson struck first in the top of the second when Saran singled, went to third on a Jono Chafe double and scored on a sacrifice fly from catcher Mitch Schoenman.
The Tigers came right back in the bottom of the second.
With one out, Jalen Washington walked and went to second when first baseman Ed Govang was hit by a pitch. Second baseman Dylan Gugliotta came through with a two-out run-scoring single to tie the game (1-1).
The Explorers regained the lead when second baseman Alex Agra led off the third with a double and eventually came home on a wild pitch.
In the fourth inning, right fielder Joey Cahill led off with a single and came home on a run-scoring single from Kevin Zullo.
Down 3-1, Twinsburg did most of its damage in the bottom of the fifth.
After Gugliotta walked, sophomore left fielder Mitch Eglar smashed a two-run home run over the left-field fence, tying the game at 3-3.
Center fielder Brady Haba then reached on an error and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. A sacrifice fly from pitcher Nick Jaworski brought home Haba.
Dan McMullen followed with a single and an error and a single from Cooper Rea made it 5-3.
Jaworski gave up four earned runs in 5-13 innings of work, allowing seven hits and striking out two.
"Jaworski did an excellent job keeping us off base and keeping us off balance," Dice said.
However, Hudson kept coming.
A double from Saran and an error chased Jaworski from the game in the sixth inning. Although Schoenman hit a run-scoring single off Rea in relief, the Tigers still held a 5-4 lead heading into the seventh.
But the Explorers tied the game by using their brand of offense.
Third baseman Tim Kennedy led off the inning with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third.
Left fielder Ross McLelland then came through with a run-scoring single to tie the game (5-5).
Twinsburg had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh after a one-out double from McMullen. However, after intentionally walking Washington, Zullo struck out Rea and Govang to end the threat.
Zullo improved to 2-0 as he picked up the win with 2.67 innings of scoreless relief.
In the top of the eighth, Chafe smashed his second double of the day to left field and went to third on a sacrifice bunt.
Zullo then came through at the plate, smashing a run-scoring single wide of second base.
Zullo then set the Tigers down in order in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the win.
Hudson was scheduled to host a doubleheader with Boardman April 13 at The Ballpark at Hudson. Results of those games were not available at press time.
The Explorers are set to visit Valley Division rival Solon April 16 before returning home to play Solon April 17. Game time both days is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.