When Sylvan Wiley entered the game, his team was clinging to a one-run lead with the tying run on base.

How did it go?

Well, not particularly fantastic.

"He walked the first two hitters on questionable calls," Hudson pitching coach Tracy Lewis said.

Thus, Wiley, a sophomore on the Explorers baseball team at the time, found himself in a bases-loaded situation with one out.

Amazingly, it turned out to be easy peasy for the crafty left-hander.

"He got out of it," Lewis said. "He’s unflappable. He’s not affected by nerves. Even if he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’ll figure it out."

He figured out how he’ll handle his immediate future too.

Wiley, a 2020 Hudson graduate, has decided to continue his academic and baseball careers at John Carroll University in University Heights.

Wiley, who plans to major in biochemistry, chose the private Jesuit university over the College of Wooster and the University of Mount Union in Alliance. He hopes to be an endocrinologist someday.

"I knew I wanted to attend a smaller school where I would be able to keep playing baseball and compete," Wiley said. "Mount Union and Wooster were also high on the list, but in the end, John Carroll was the best fit for me. I loved the location, campus and especially their baseball program."

Although he wasn’t known for lighting up the radar gun, Wiley had a knack for baffling opposing hitters with his fastball, curveball and changeup.

Forcing those batters to get themselves out was Wiley’s cup of tea. If they were anxious or impatient, they were often putty in the savvy southpaw’s hands.

"He’s very cerebral," Lewis said. "He’s like a swiss army knife. He’s a smart, strike-throwing lefty. He not only knows the game, he understands the inner workings of baseball."

He does indeed.

Wiley finished 4-1 with a 2.40 earned run average and 30 strikeouts in 28-? innings for Hudson during his junior year.

He has been known to throw strikes consistently with all three pitches, but Wiley’s most effective weapon is his changeup.

"Snapping off a sharp curveball will always be a great feeling and a solid out pitch," he said. "However, Coach Lewis and I have realized that my changeup is my most effective pitch. Hitters tend to be way out in front on my changeup, resulting in weak grounders and fly balls.

"While I wish I could chuck the ball 90 mph past each batter, I tend to rely more on brain games and throwing off the hitter's timing to get outs. I’m constantly considering where the hitter is standing, what they may be expecting and their anxiousness in the box when it comes to my pitch decision."

Wiley always had a knack for tossing the ball precisely where his catcher’s mitt was located. Nevertheless, that didn’t mean he could rely solely on his brain to become successful.

That’s where Lewis entered the picture.

Thanks to a few tweaks by the pitching guru, Wiley had a superpower few pitchers have on any level.


"Coach Lewis is, by far, the best pitching coach I have ever had," Wiley said. "He is practically a pitching wizard.

"When I first started playing for him, he helped me through a couple mechanical adjustments that completely fixed the way I pitched. He has a tendency of doing that for all of our guys.

"Aside from being a great pitching coach, he has become a role model of mine. He is patient, understanding, optimistic and extremely generous."

Their relationship came to an abrupt end last month. On the diamond, at least.

Thanks to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as the coronavirus, the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the entire spring season.

"The news was an extremely tough blow to say the least," Wiley said. "My friends and I have fantasized about our senior season since freshman year. I was also dying to get the opportunity to hit this year.

"We had a starting lineup full of guys with at least one year of varsity baseball under their belt, which is a huge advantage in high school baseball. (2020 Hudson graduates) Tony Arroyo and Anthony Rottuno were also going to be impactful additions to our squad."

Wiley grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He learned about the nuances of the game from his older brother Isaac, a 2018 Hudson graduate.

Wiley first discovered baseball when he was 5 years old and started playing competitively at age 8.

John Carroll, which plays in the Ohio Athletic Conference, won seven of its first 11 games this spring before its season was cut short due to the global pandemic. The Blue Streaks finished 23-15 overall and 10-8 in the OAC last year.

"Aside from academic success, my goals are getting stronger and adding velocity during my freshman year," Wiley said. "I don’t think there’s anything stopping me from cracking the starting lineup, especially if I develop physically and add a couple mph to my fastball."

Despite not getting a chance to play with his closest friends for one more season, Wiley recently received the Ray Hyser Award, which is given to an athlete who best represents leadership, pride and desire. He also was a senior captain.

"He’s a really great kid," said Lewis, who was the head coach of the freshman team when he first worked with Wiley. "He’s very respectful and he asked a lot of questions. He’s a student of the game."

He was a proud student of Hudson baseball too. Especially when he was put in some rather precarious positions.

"Playing at Hudson was unforgettable," Wiley said. "The team starts preparing for the season the very first week of school, then once spring rolls around, everybody is psyched to show what they’ve been working for.

"One thing I’ll remember most about Hudson baseball is how much time we spent with our teammates. We do literally everything together for those months leading up to the season and it really helps our team chemistry."

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