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All season long, the Hudson softball team's defense has been a problem.
Once again, the Lady Explorers' defense had issues.
As a result, Hudson's season over.
The sixth-seeded Lady Explorers suffered a 6-1 defeat to third-seeded Highland in a Barberton Division I sectional title game May 10 in Granger Township.
Hudson fell to 7-14 overall. The Lady Hornets, who shared the Suburban League American Conference championship with Tallmadge during the regular season, improved to 18-5.
Highland scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to three Lady Explorer errors. All five of those runs were unearned.
Leading 1-0, right-hander pitcher Brittany Fleischer got things started in the fifth with a single to center field. Second baseman Morgan Belsole followed with a single to left.
And then the wheels came off for Hudson.
The next batter, left fielder Sam Kainec, laid down a sacrifice bunt. Kainec wound up being safe at first as the ball was dropped. That allowed Fleischer to score from second and Belsole moved to third.
Lady Explorers' right-hander Sara Gedeon got the next batter to strike out swinging, but she walked designated player Madison Williams to load the bases.
Center fielder Alex Csorba than hit a liner to the outfield that was dropped. The error allowed three runs to score and Csorba moved to third.
The next batter, third baseman Alex Pasco, reached on an error and shortstop Hanna Griffin followed with a single to score the last two runs.
Hudson ended the inning on a double play where it got the last out at third base.
Csorba also drove in the Lady Hornets' first run in the second with a single. She had three hits and reached base all four times.
Hudson's offense, on the other hand, could not solve Fleischer, who pitched all nine innings during Highland's 2-1 win over Tallmadge May 9.
Fleischer threw just 72 pitches in seven innings and faced a two-ball count or more just twice. She fell behind on the first pitch just three times and at one point, she threw 23 strikes in a row.
Fleischer struck out eight batters and walked one while allowing just four hits. She retired the first 11 batters in a row.
Meanwhile, Gedeon had to do much more work in the pitcher's circle.
She thew 129 pitches and allowed seven hits in six innings of work. Gedeon, playing in her final high school postseason game, struck out four and walked six.
The Lady Explorers scored their only run in the sixth.
Pinch hitter Bri Bellanco led off with a bunt single toward third. After a pop out, shortstop Kayla Tucciarelli drew a walk.
Fleischer got a fly ball for the second out, but right fielder Mariah Duncan drove in Bellanco with a single off the end of the bat toward right field.
Highland stranded 10 runners and was just 3 of 17 with runners in scoring position. Hudson stranded three runners and was 1 of 7 with runners on base.