HUDSON — When she saw the ball land harmlessly into the grass in center field, Olivia Stefanoni wasn’t particularly peachy.

“I was pretty angry,” she said.

The junior left-hander certainly had a right to be. She had just allowed a two-out, two-strike single in the top of the seventh.

As a result, the Explorers saw their slim lead torn to pieces in an inning that once looked so promising.

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Understandably, Stefanoni felt responsible and didn’t particularly care for the circumstances.

“I had a lot of anger and determination to just pull it out,” she said.

Perhaps Stefanoni may want to feel exasperated more often. Because she redeemed herself in rather magnificent fashion several minutes later.

Thanks to Stefanoni’s walk-off single, host Hudson earned a dramatic 3-2 victory over Crestwood Saturday. With the win, the red-hot Explorers improved to 9-0 in 2019.

Stefanoni, who managed to slither around baserunners throughout the afternoon, improved to 5-0 in the pitcher’s circle.

If Stefanoni happens to be furious the next time she takes the field, you may want to think twice about calming her down.

That’s because Stefanoni’s anger unleashed her own version of the Incredible Hulk.

And that’s just fine with Hudson.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Stefanoni said. “It kind of pushed me to want to do better. It helped me.”

Stefanoni faced a situation that was made for Hollywood. The bases were loaded with two outs and the sweet-swinging Stefanoni faced a 2-2 count against Red Devils’ starter Mikayla Berquist.

Stefanoni knew all of her team’s momentum would be lost if she didn’t deliver. So her game plan was simple.

Make sure the aluminum stick collides with a certain fast-moving rubber object.

“I was kind of nervous,” Stefanoni said. “I wanted it really, really bad. With two strikes, I was like, ‘You know what? I’m not striking out. I have to hit.’ I just had that mindset like I’m going to do it.”

Berquist’s pivotal pitch wasn’t exactly put on a tee. Therefore, Stefanoni had to make an adjustment.

“It was a little high and a little bit inside maybe,” Stefanoni said. “I was just so determined to hit it.”

Her determination worked wonders.

Stefanoni ripped a line drive over Crestwood left fielder Samantha Toke’s head to score the winning run.

“Olivia is down to her last strike and had struggled a little bit at the plate,” Hudson head coach Jeff Kurtz said. “We had been talking to her about, ‘Hey, take that pitch in the middle of the plate out and hit it back side.’

“She put a perfect swing on a ball that was up and away and hit it over the left fielder’s head. She had a great at-bat. She did what she had to do and won the game for herself.”

If Stefanoni would have had her way, though, that final at-bat never would have taken place.

She was working on a four-hitter and was one out away from finishing the game in the top of the seventh.

With two outs and no one on base, Stefanoni gave up what looked like a harmless single to left by Berquist.

But the game took an unexpected twist in a hurry as Berquist found herself at third when a pickoff throw at first went astray.

Left fielder Toke took advantage of the miscue by smacking a single to score the tying run.

“Obviously, she had pitched a really good game,” Kurtz said. “She left the ball up. The ball got by our first baseman, our second baseman and our right fielder.

“How often is that going to happen? Everybody was doing what they are supposed to do and the ball still manages to get through.”

Fortunately, Stefanoni ended the inning when she got Maranda Seither to hit a bouncer back to the circle. Stefanoni, who had to lunge to her left to spear the tricky chopper, threw to first for the third out.

That set the stage for the fiercely competitive junior to unleash her anger for the benefit of the team.

As it turns out, her anger was short-lived. Stefanoni’s frown quickly turned upside down as Hudson continued its best start in many years.

“It feels really good,” Stefanoni said. “I love it. We’re putting some runs on the board and working together as a team. We had some great defense. I’m really proud of everyone.”

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.