Hudson — 2013 was a banner year for both Hudson and Aurora baseball.
The Explorers continued their dominance of Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division, while Aurora reached the Division I state final four for the first time in history.
So far in 2014, Hudson has continued its excellence, while Aurora has had a bit of an up-and-down year.
On May 3 at The Ballpark at Hudson, however, the Greenmen showed they are still capable of big games.
Rallying from a 6-1 deficit, Aurora scored a 9-7 win over Hudson as part of the Explorers’ Cancer Awareness Classic.
The game Hudson’s third in a 24-hour span, as the Explorers also defeated Solon 5-1 and lost to Mentor 1-0 May 2 at home.
Aurora improved to 12-8 on the season, while Hudson dropped to 15-3.
Greenmen coach Tim Deering said the win was a huge positive for his team.
“We’ve had our lineup set for a while. Today’s the first day we really broke out,” Deering said. “It’s the first time in the history of our program that we’ve beaten Hudson.”
Hudson coach Buddy Dice said he wasn’t too worried with the loss, given the quick turnaround his team endured.
“Aurora’s a good hitting team,” Dice said. “They’ve got a bunch of guys back from that state final four squad. I think we made some base-running mistakes that didn’t seem like they were big at the time, but really cost us.
“I thought we hit the ball well. I thought we played good defense,” Dice added. “Jared Hoffman gave us a chance to win. We had some guys that don’t normally pitch for us get a chance to pitch because we’re playing four games in two days.”
Hudson was able to jump on Aurora starter Adam Long (3-2) early, as a sacrifice fly from Joey Cahill and an RBI ground out from Kevin Zullo made it 2-0 after one inning.
Aurora got an unearned run in the top of the second, but Hudson answered with one in the bottom of the second. Explorer second baseman Jake McKenzie scored after hitting a lead-off double.
Hudson seemed to take command of the game with three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
After Dan Joseph singled and Cahill walked, Zullo hit an RBI single and designated hitter Travis Wood smashed an RBI double.
Wood had a big day at the plate, going 4-of-4 with two doubles.
Zullo would score on an RBI groundout to make it 6-1.
However, Aurora’s comeback began in the fourth inning with a rarity at The Ballpark at Hudson: A home run over the left field fence.
Greenman catcher Bubba Arslanian launched a two-run homer — his first varsity home run — with a bit of help from the wind.
“I didn’t think it was gone when I hit it,” Arslanian said. “I just jumped on the first fastball i saw.”
Aurora also got an RBI single in the fourth from Matt Carpenter and an RBI groundout from Arslanian in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 6-5.
Hoffman left the game with lead, but Aurora got two more runs off Cahill in the sixth.
An infield single by Carpenter was followed by back-to-back RBI doubles from Andy Weber and Nick Ely to make it 7-6.
Cahill (0-1) took the loss in relief.
Aurora added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh without getting a hit.
After two walks and a hit batsman, Carpenter drew a bases-loaded walk. Weber then beat the relay throw on a double play attempt for an RBI fielders’ choice.
The game was then delayed for 45 minutes due to lightning.
When play resumed, Kirk Janoch took the mound for Aurora, He would get the save, but Hudson made things interesting.
With two outs, Wood hit his second double of the day and Miller walked. McKenzie then hit a fly ball to center field which was dropped, allowing Wood to score.
With the tying runs on second and third base, pinch hitter Andrew Karpinski had a chance to extend the game, but he flew out to second base to end it.