Hudson baseball team honors top players from the previous decade

FRANK ACETO Reporter

It featured seven league or division titles.

It also included four district title game appearances.

And two district championships as well.

For the Hudson baseball team, the 2010s were quite a decade. As a result of their success, Buddy Dice and the rest of his coaching staff decided to put together their all-decade team.

Were there controversies? Heated arguments? Perhaps a scuffle or two?

Well, not exactly. However, it sure was a blast for the Explorers’ brain trust, which brought this idea to life in, oddly enough, the Steel City.

“We were at a clinic in Pittsburgh,” said Dice, who has been Hudson’s head coach since 2013 and has been part of the program since 2001. “We had all of the stats for the last 10 years. We talked about the great seasons we had.”

For Dice, the 2014 season was the pinnacle for the Explorers. Hudson reached its first regional final since 2000 when it lost to eventual state champion Jackson. The Explorers also reached the sweet sixteen in 2012.

Not surprisingly, four 2014 graduates were named to the all-decade team. They are pitchers Nanak Saran and Kevin Zullo, who went on to continue their baseball careers at The College of Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, respectively, outfielder Joe Cahill and third baseman Dan Joseph.

So who helped Dice pick the players? This group includes his current assistants Greg Wallick, Tracy Lewis, Tim Dixon and Jim Nold, along with former longtime head coach Chuck Schilling, who led Hudson to 461 wins from 1988 to 2012. As a result of his success, Schilling was named the coach of this prestigious squad.

By the way, no fisticuffs took place. However, there were a few polite disagreements between these distinguished gentlemen.

“There were a ton of debates,” Dice said. “We basically referenced a number of quality athletes we had. It was fun to reminisce. There were definitely some difficult decisions because there were so many good players over the years.”

Dice and his staff settled on 18 players for this honorary team. They were not voted by position. They were simply named the best players from 2010 to 2019. The rest of the names include the following:

• 2010: outfielder Ryan Woods;

• 2011: catcher/outfielder Matt Ramsay, middle infielder/pitcher Jimmy Benchek and middle infielder Nate Shaw;

• 2012: outfielder Will Stribrny;

• 2013: third baseman Tim Kennedy, who is now a graduate assistant with the University of Toledo football team, and pitcher Brian Malerick;

• 2015: middle infielder Jake Stuursma;

• 2016: catcher Joe Charpentier and outfielder Mac Schoenman;

• 2017: middle infielder Hayden Knox and pitchers Troy Brown and Johnny Merrill; and

• 2019: first baseman, pitcher Nolan O’Connell, who is now playing baseball at the University of Findlay.

Due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as COVID-19, the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the entire 2020 season for spring sports.

“We hope to get together during the fall since there was no actual game to attend,” Dice said. “We want to properly honor them. The point of emphasis is the number of quality kids who have come through the program. It’s really nice to stay in touch with them.”

Dice said Schilling and his staff are planning to put together an all-decade team for the 2000s.

“We’re still waiting on Coach Schilling,” Dice said jokingly. “I’ve been impressed since day one.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the families. It speaks to the type of program we’ve had at Hudson.”

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