What a pair of games
Two Cleveland area baseball teams won thrilling district final games yesterday, advancing to the "Sweet 16" of the state baseball tournament.
Hudson 8 Walsh Jesuit 3
The Hudson Explorers have been flying under the radar all season, quietly putting together a 22-3 record headed into their district final game against Walsh Jesuit, the heavy favorite, and the top ranked team in to the state of Ohio. Many believed that the undefeated Warriors would handle Hudson on their way to the state final.
Hudson scored 5 runs in the top of the eighth inning, taking advantage of a Walsh error, three walks, and two timely hits, advancing to the Canton Regional next Thursday by defeating Walsh 8-3. To make things even more impressive for the Explorers, they rallied in the eighth inning off of Walsh pitcher Ty Shoaff, Walsh's ace, and a University of Missouri recruit. Dan Joseph picked up the win for Hudson in relief, as him and sophomore Ian Swan kept the high powered Walsh offense scoreless after the fourth inning. Joey Cahill led the Hudson attack with two hits and four RBI, including a big two run single in the eighth inning explosion.
Mentor 4 Willoughby South 3
Some people believed that the Mentor Cardinals may have underachieved during the regular season. Ranked in the top ten of the state to start the season, the Cardinals were currently ranked 18th in this week's state poll, and left people wondering what kind of run the Cards could put together come tournament time.
Wonder no more
Cory Plavcan hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Kade McClure was strong on the mound as Mentor advanced to the Canton Regional with a back and forth 4-3 victory over Willoughby South. Mentor got out to a 1-0 lead after two innings, only to see South tie the game on a couple of Mentor errors and a passed ball. Plavcan's first sacrifice fly in the third inning gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, which they held until the fifth. South rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
Mentor wouldn't fold
The Cards took advantage of a South error in the bottom of the inning tying the game at 3, and setting up Plavcan's heroics in the bottom of the sixth. South threatened in the top of the seventh, getting the tying run to third with two outs, but the rally was snuffed out by a great catch by All-Ohio outfielder Caleb Potter that ended the game. Mentor goes back to the "scene of the crime" from last season, where they fell in the regional final last season. They will look to go one step further this year, and with it comes a trip to Columbus.
Two great games, and two Cleveland area teams advancing to the baseball regionals.
Congratulations to both Hudson and Mentor, and good luck in the regionals next Thursday