by Michael Leonard
Hudson -- The Explorers have shown they still knows how to play using "Buddy Ball," as fans of Hudson have taken to calling coach Buddy Dice's bunt-and-run offensive style.
However, the Hudson baseball team also is showing a bit of a power surge this season.
That's bad news for the Explorers' future foes.
Hudson completed a season sweep of Stow-Munroe Falls April 10 as the Explorers defeated the Bulldogs' 11-3 at The Ballpark at Hudson.
Hudson then scored a 10-5 win over Alliance Marlington April 11 in a home night game.
Finally, the Explorers shut out Avon 5-0 April 12 in a game played at All-Pro Freight Stadium.
As of press time, Hudson's record stood at 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.
Having defeated Stow 6-1 a day earlier, the Explorers wasted no time jumping on the Bulldogs April 10.
After giving up one run in the top of the first inning, Hudson hung four runs on Stow starting pitcher James Taylor and never looked back.
The Explorers took advantage of four Bulldogs' errors and played error-free ball themselves, while outhitting Stow 10-9.
Hudson starter Nanak Saran wasn't razor sharp, but he picked up his first win of the season by pitching the first four innings. Ian Swan pitched three shutout innings in relief.
The Explorers' offense was led by two doubles from left fielder Braden Wright as well as two singles and two runs from Joey Cahill.
Dice notes Marlington may have been the biggest offensive challenge Hudson had faced so far this season.
"Looking at some of the games in the past," Dice said. "[Marlington is] averaging nine or 10 runs a game. Coach [Scott] Gabelt has a veteran team. His goal is to get them back here for their [Division II] regional."
After two scoreless innings, Hudson opened the scoring with four runs in the third inning.
A passed ball, a run-scoring single from Saran and a two-run single from catcher Travis Wood accounted for the runs.
Saran remains one of the hottest hitters in Northeast Ohio.
He went 3-of-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and a run batted in.
"I'm not trying to do too much with the bat," Saran said. "I just try to make solid contact and if it goes over someone's head, all the better."
Marlington came back with three runs in the top of the fourth, but the Explorers replied with five in the bottom of the fourth.
A run-scoring double from Dan Joseph was followed by a two-run single from pinch hitter Ian Sawn. Wild pitches then allowed Kevin Zullo and pinch runner Brett Kemper to score, making it 9-3.
Hudson starting pitcher Jared Hoffman improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing three runs in four innings.
"He's not overpowering, but he has a great sense for the game," Dice said.
Relievers Chris Siebert and Michael Cavoli each gave up one run for the Explorers.
Hudson manufactured its final run in the sixth.
After pinch hitter Andrew Karpinski singled, Dean Miller came in to run. Miller stole second, went to third on a throwing error and then came home on another throwing error.
Marlington got a run in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, but Cavoli struck out the side in the seventh to end the game.
Against Avon, Hudson pitcher's Pete MacKay, KJ Tench and Jake McKenzie combined to shut out the Eagles, allowing only four hits.
MacKay improved to 1-0 on the season.
The Explorers managed only five hits in the win, but were able to do all their damage in the second and third innings.
Joseph led the Explorers with two singles and two stolen bases.
Hudson was set for a home-and-home series with Valley Division foe Mayfield this week. The Explorers were scheduled to travel to Mayfield April 15 (results were not available at press time) and then host the Wildcats April 16 at 4:30 p.m.
Following a brief break for Easter, Hudson is set to return to action April 22 at Twinsburg at 4:30 p.m. for a Valley Division showdown.