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Tigers settle for split with Hudson

By MICHAEL LEONARD Sports Editor Published: April 26, 2017 12:00 AM
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TWINSBURG -- The battles between Twinsburg and Hudson baseball have featured clashes of style and personality over the years.

Twinsburg coach Don Jones has always been a "grip-and-rip," American League-style coach, while "Buddyball" -- bunt and run every chance you get -- has been the preferred style for Hudson coach Buddy Dice since day one.

It could be said the Tigers beat Hudson with its own style April 18 at The Ballpark at Hudson, as some small-ball tactics and good pitching led Twinsburg to a 2-1 win.

On April 24 at Dodge Field, however, Hudson used some Tigers-style offense, as an early home run by Spencer McClure led the Explorers scored a 6-0 win.

Sandwiched between the two games, Twinsburg dropped a 2-1 decision to Stow-Munroe Falls in a rain-shortened game April 19. Then on April 22, Twinsburg split a doubleheader at Chagrin Falls, losing to Solon 6-1 and beating Chagrin Falls 13-3.

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Twinsburg's record stood at 10-6, 6-4 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time, while Hudson moved to 11-4, 6-3 in the National Conference.

"They played a very good game today," Jones said of Hudson April 24. "We were lacking some timely hitting. We had some opportunities. Of course, its obvious we need to do some things better. We don't get to pick and choose when we play our make-up games."

"It's nice to see us play from ahead," Dice said April 24. "We feel like we have gotten better even since the first time we played. We put it all together."

Game one between the Tigers and Explorers was a pitcher's duel between Twinsburg's Ryan Christy (5-0) and Hudson's Troy Brown (2-2). Both seniors pitched complete games.

Christy picked up the win by allowing just one earned run in seven innings. The Ohio University recruit scattered seven hits, while striking out three batters and walking one.

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After walks to first baseman Jake Carinci and catcher Chad Syzdlowski, Tiger third baseman Dylan Jackson put down a sacrifice bunt.

Left fielder Bobby Delegram then hit a sacrifice fly to left field and Carinci beat the throw home to make it 1-0.

Twinsburg manufactured its second run in the top of the fifth inning in similar fashion.

Jackson walked and went to second on a wild pitch, followed by a perfect bunt single by Delegram.

Jackson scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by second baseman Jason Stahlman.

Twinsburg then survived a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to win, as Christy pitched his way out of it.

"In the 30 years of coaching, you'd have seen the first fist fight on the mound if I had tried to take him out of there," Jones said, with a laugh. "He's such competitor.

On April 24, Hudson jumped on the Tigers for four runs in the second inning.

With one on, McClure, the Explorers' second baseman, smashed a two-run home run over the left-field fence to make it 2-0. According to Dice, it was Hudson's first home run since the 2015 season.

Hudson wasn't done. After an infield single by Matt Oscarson and center fielder Nolan Laughlin getting hit by a pitch, shortstop Hayden Knox smacked a two-out, two-run double to the left-field line to make it 4-0.

That was all the run support Hudson pitcher Johnny Merrill (2-0) needed. Merrill went the distance, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

"We did have a few errors, but Johnny pitched very well," Dice said. "It was good game all around."

Twinsburg's best scoring chancce came in the bottom of the the second inning, as the Tigers loaded the bases with one out. Merrill struck out two Tigers to end the the threat."

Hudson got another run in the third inning, as an RBI single from Oscarson scored McClure.

In the top of the seventh, McClure scored once again, this time on a sacrifice fly from Matt O'Connell.

Twinsburg pitcher Sean Williams (1-1) took the loss, going four innings and allowing five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Ethan Bernard pitched a scoreless fifth inning, while Justin Laley gave up one run in two innings of work.

"Nine walks and two beans [hit batsmen]; That speaks for itself," Jones said. "Our focus is going to be on Nordonia in about 30 minutes."

Twinsburg was set to travel to Nordonia April 24, but results were not available at press time.

The Tigers will host Nordonia April 25 at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to Bob Cene Park to face Struthers April 29 at noon.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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