HUDSON — It won’t have any significance in the standings.
Nonetheless, the Hudson baseball team did something Friday that made the Explorers the envy of their other conference rivals.
They got on the field. And they played an actual game, too.
Hudson improved to 16-2 after earning a convincing 13-3 victory over Cortland Lakeview Friday at The Ballpark at Hudson. The game was called after six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Due to the rainy conditions Thursday night and Friday morning, just about all of Northeast Ohio had its baseball games washed out.
The Explorers were bound and determined to get some work on the diamond to prepare for a crucial week against conference foes.
Their determination paid off rather handsomely.
"We were scheduled to play Copley," Hudson head coach Buddy Dice said. "They canceled for a league game, so Lakeview was the first team that responded with the invitation to all of the Northeast Ohio coaches. A lot of teams would have wanted to play [Friday or Saturday]."
Getting to work out the kinks against the Bulldogs could be beneficial for their crucial slate of games next week.
The Explorers, who are 9-2 in the Suburban League National Conference, have three conference games in three days next week.
Anything can happen when Hudson meets its rivals on the field. But Dice is feeling pretty stoked about his team’s play of late.
"We lost a one-run game to Brecksville," Dice said. "So what. We lost 4-1 to Wadsworth. So what. We play Stow on Monday, Wadsworth on Tuesday and Twinsburg on Wednesday.
"We got a game in [Friday] and no one else did. We’re playing well and if we win those games, we have a shot at the league championship."
As always, the Explorers took the initiative rather than letting the game come to them. Hudson stole 13 bases, laid down two bunt singles and took advantage of 10 walks and five wild pitches.
"There’s a lot of different ways to win a baseball game," Dice said. "We’re going to continue to try to find ways to win."
The Explorers also hit the ball. They hit it pretty hard, too.
Hudson had 12 hits and was up 9-0 after four innings. As has been the tradition this season and many others, the hitting clinic was performed by committee.
Eleven different Explorers had at least one hit and 12 Hudson players reached base at least once.
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience for Hudson, which hadn’t been too busy in recent days.
"We played one game last week," Dice said. "We have a pretty big week next week. Just the fact of coming out, fighting the elements, getting kids on the field ready to play, I thought it was great."
Senior right fielder Blake Hartline was named the team’s Fireball Player of the Game. He finished with two hits, including a triple, two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
Hartline has excelled despite playing with a heavy heart. His mother, Becky, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February.
Prior to the game, Becky threw out the honorary first pitch.
"He’s having a great year, which is cool," Dice said of Hartline. "I know he has a lot of weight on his shoulders. Not only is he carrying the weight of what’s going on at home, he’s also carrying this team a lot. He’s a big reason for our success."
Catcher Robbie Pacsi, who entered the game in the top of the third, had a single, two RBIs and a run scored.
Leadoff batter Ryan Mitcheltree, the Explorers’ starting center fielder, had a single, two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
Starting second baseman Zack Palmer had a single, two walks, two stolen bases and a run scored for Hudson.
Shortstop Blake Farley contributed with both his bat and his glove. He had a single, two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI and also made a leaping catch in the top of the first.
Lakeview (10-9) scored all three of its runs in the top of the fifth. Nick Demonica, who took the loss on the mound, had a run-scoring single and first baseman Brandon Kilpatrick followed with a two-run single.
Matthew Aukerman entered the game in the third and pitched two innings to pick up the win. Aukerman, who pitched a perfect game earlier in the season, improved to 4-0. Aukerman recently made a verbal commitment to continue his academic and baseball careers at John Carroll University in University Heights.
"It was a lot of fun," Dice said. "We got a lot of guys in. They had fun. They’re looking forward to next week. It’s exciting."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.