by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Hudson -- After an extra-innings victory at Twinsburg April 9, the Hudson baseball team was prepared for a rematch with the Tigers 24 hours later at The Ballpark at Hudson.
However, Mother Nature had other ideas.
After a scoreless top of the first inning by the Tigers April 10, spring storms suspended the contest.
Three days of rain and low temperatures postponed the game all the way to April 15.
Then, both sides had to wait another hour, as the umpires didn't arrive on time.
It turned out to be worth the wait for the Explorers as their senior ace was at his best against the Tigers.
Right-hander Brian Malerick allowed only one hit in five innings as Hudson scored a 3-0 win over Twinsburg.
Prior to the game, the Explorers also defeated Boardman 9-3 April 13 at The Ballpark at Hudson.
Hudson improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division as of press time.
Explorers' first-year head coach Buddy Dice said Malerick looked back to his dominant self.
"His tempo was much better than it has been in a while," Dice said. "The blister on his finger from last week is gone and he was just throwing well."
Twinsburg head coach Don Jones said his team just ran into a superior pitching staff, lauding both Malerick and reliever Kevin Zullo.
"We ran into two great pitchers," Jones said. "I have no fault for my young men at the plate. We had him on the ropes [in the fifth inning], but once again, we're our own worst enemy."
Malerick (1-0) held the Tigers (4-2, 0-2) hitless until the fifth inning, striking out five in the process.
Sophomore Mitch Eglar (1-1) was the hard luck loser for the Tigers, as he allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out four.
Hudson did all of its damage with two out in the bottom of the fourth.
After left fielder Ross McLelland hit into a fielder's choice, first baseman Nanak Saran hit a long double to the warning track in left field to score him.
"Nanak really got us started," Dice said. "Before that, we were flat. I think the delay really hurt us."
Saran then stole third and came home on a bloop single by shortstop Dan Joseph. After catcher Mitch Schoenman walked, center fielder Brian Snyder bunted. Eglar fielded the ball but threw high of first base, allowing Joseph to score.
"Not making that play really changed the game," Jones said. "Scratching out two runs against a team of that caliber is a lot easier than three runs."
Twinsburg had its chance in the top of the fifth.
Cooper Rea led off with a walk and went to second on a ground out.
After Dylan Gugliotta was hit by a pitch, Eglar loaded the bases with the Tigers' lone hit: A single to shallow left.
However, Malerick picked off Rea at third, much to Jones dismay.
The move saved a run, as Brady Haba was hit by a pitch.
Malerick got out of the inning by striking out Nick Medwetz.
Despite Malerick's dominance, Hudson pitching coach Jim Nold decided to take him out and insert Zullo for the final two innings.
The move proved sound as Zullo put down all six Tigers he faced to get the save. He struck out two.
Ryan Bass pitched a scoreless sixth inning for Twinsburg, but the Tigers couldn't bet back in the game.
Against Boardman, the Explorers scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 7-1 lead. Hudson finished with 10 hits and one error.
Boardman (3-3) finished with six hits and two errors. Starting right-hander Pete MacKay got the win on the mound.
Brian Snyder led the Explorers' offense with three hits, including a double, two runs scored and two stolen bases. He also drove in a run. Alex Albright drove in two runs and scored two more for Hudson.
Albright drove in both of his runs in the fourth inning.
Dice said this week would be a grinder for Explorers as his team would be play three Valley Division games in as many days.
Hudson was set to play April 16 at Solon, but results were not available at press time.
The Explorers are scheduled to entertain Solon April 17 at 4:30 p.m.
Hudson is scheduled to host Massillon Jackson April 19 at 7 p.m. followed by a home doubleheader April 20 with Chardon at 1 p.m. and Canfield at 4 p.m.
These three games will be charity games as Hudson baseball seeks donations for the fight against pediatric cancer.