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Baseball shuts out Kenston in sectional

By MICHAEL LEONARD Sports Editor Published: May 17, 2017 12:00 AM
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HUDSON -- The Hudson baseball team came into the postseason on a roll.

That roll continued in its first playoff game.

The third-seeded Explorers played an efficient contest, defeating sixth-seeded Bainbridge Township Kenston 4-0 May 12 in a Division I sectional final game at The Ballpark at Hudson.

Hudson also hosted Woodridge May 13 in a district warm-up game for both teams. Woodridge won the regular season game 4-0 to end the Explorers' 12-game winning streak.

Hudson (20-5) advanced to the Hudson Division I district semifinals May 18 at 7 p.m. at The Ballpark at Hudson. The Explorers are set to play second-seeded Aurora in the district semifinal contest. The Greenmen defeated Shaker Heights 4-2 May 12.

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Explorers head coach Buddy Dice was pleased with his team's effort.

"We're doing things right," Dice said. "We're getting better and we're ready for districts."

"I knew (Kenston was) a good team," he added. "Being a No. 6 seed, they were not to be taken lightly."

Kenston came into the game with a record of 17-5, but Hudson starting pitcher Johnny Merrill (5-2) did a stellar job of controlling the Bombers.

Merrill pitched six scoreless innings, scattering six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

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The Explorers' offense took what was offered by Kenston starting pitcher Matthew Pecoraro (2-2).

Nolan Laughlin opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. He singled and went to second base on an error, then went to third on a wild pitch.

Laughlin scored on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Hayden Knox.

Hudson made it 2-0 in the bottom of the second.

A walk to Seth Draper and a single by Nolan O'Connell were followed by a double steal. Draper then scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Grant Gedeon.

Another sacrifice fly made it 3-0 Explorers in the third inning. Draper drove in Laughlin, who had been hit by a pitch.

Pecoraro went three innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits, two walks and two hit batsmen.

Kenston sent Christian Cassaro to the mound in the fourth inning. With two outs, Hudson got a single from third baseman Johnny Colesi and a single from Matt Oscarson.

Laughlin then hit an RBI single to score Colesi to make it 4-0. Oscarson tied to score on the play as well, but was thrown out at the plate.

Kenston's best scoring chance came in the sixth inning, when the Bombers had the bases loaded with no outs.

However, Merrill got a strikeout, induced a fielder's choice that saw Cassaro thrown out at the plate and got Greeenman Steve Szczerniak to pop out to second to escape the inning with no damage.

Troy Brown pitched a scoreless seventh to close the game out.

Against Woodridge, Hudson managed only two hits in the game, as O'Connell took the loss on the mound.

Woodridge's David Graham went the distance to pick up the win and also had two singles.

The Explorers were set to visit Canton GlenOak May 15 before returning home to play Kent Roosevelt May 16. Results of those games weren't available at press time.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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