Stow and Roosevelt baseball shut down Hudson at Canal Park
Bullodgs and Rough Riders join forces to beat Explorers 2-0
AKRON — On a muggy, late July night, baseball returned for the Class of 2020 at Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls and Kent Roosevelt high schools.
Everyone associated with the Bulldogs, Rough Riders and Explorers made it clear before the game they were happy just to be back on the diamond together.
Once the game started, however, the three teams combined for a well-played game.
Stow and Roosevelt joined forces to edge Hudson 2-0 Saturday at Canal Park in Akron, thanks to a very good pitching performance by committee.
The Bulldogs and Rough Riders fielded a team that consisted of 13 graduated seniors from the two squads against a full Explorers team.
Stow’s Adam Folk and Roosevelt’s Spencer Townsend, Zach Holman and Zac Common combined to register a five-hit shutout vs. the Explorers. Holman picked up the win, and Common picked up a four-inning save, striking out nine Hudson batters on his way there.
“It was a great,” said Roosevelt coach Mike Haney. “At the end, it became high school baseball at the end there. Zac [Common] is a pretty cool customer.
“All three of our guys threw the ball well tonight,” Haney added. “Spencer and Zach have not picked up a ball since the whole COVID thing started, and I don’t think Adam has pitched all year.”
Stow coach Aaron DeBord expressed nothing but joy for his team, particularly first baseman Matt Sheets. In what was the lone “varsity” game of his Stow-Munroe Falls career, Sheets got the only RBI hit in the game off a single in the fifth inning.
“I was so happy for Matt,” DeBord said. “This game gave him the opportunity to play for us, and he played a great game.
“A lot of these guys have been playing together all summer, and they’ve been playing good baseball. It showed tonight.”
Despite being on the losing end, Hudson coach Buddy Dice was still all smiles after the game.
“I’m not disappointed with the outcome of the game at all,” Dice said. “We played well and pitched well. The other team just got a few more timely hits than we did.”
Hudson fans may not have recognized their team’s offense, as the usually bunt-heavy Explorers swung away on this night.
The Stow-Kent squad drew first blood in the top of the fourth inning when Holman manufactured a run after reaching base on a slow roller to second.
Holman went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a bloop single by Stow’s Zac Gandee and scored on a sacrifice fly by Roosevelt’s Matt Dile.
Holman picked up the win by pitching a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, allowing one hit and one walk. Townsend struck out five batters in his two innings of work, while Folk pitched a scoreless first inning.
Hudson’s Tony Arroyo took the loss despite allowing only one run on two hits with three strikeouts in his two innings of work.
Stow-Kent made it 2-0 in the top of the fifth off Hudson reliever Jack Zammataro.
After a one-out single by Stow’s Nick Maione, Roosevelt’s Garrett Sliippy was hit by a pitch, and Stow’s Matt Sheets drove the run home with a perfectly-placed single to short center.
Stow-Kent pitchers put down 12 Explorers in order at one point before Arroyo doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Hudson could not get the runner home. Hudson also got a double in the bottom of the eighth from Andrew Caspar.
Common looked to be cruising to the save, but Hudson’s best chance to score came in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
After Zach Rotunno was hit by a pitch, Hudson shortstop Blake Farley reached on an error and a wild pitch, putting the tying runs in scoring position.
However, Common struck out Hudson’s Robbie Pacsi to end the game.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and not let the batters on base,” said Common, who will play baseball at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. “My fastball was working today. It was my go-to pitch.”
Haney said he was unsure if Common ever earned a save in a Kent Roosevelt uniform, but he noted Common was “the best I’ve had.”
“It’s nice to have Zac Common on our side this time,” DeBord said, with a laugh.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GAN on Twitter.