April 6, 2011 —
By Bill Mullaly
The Hudson High School spring sports action won’t really get going until the Monday after spring break ends as school will resume on April 11th. However, the girl’s varsity softball team was the first official spring sport to get into action as they participated in a doubleheader with Morenci a week ago Tuesday. On a sunny but cool afternoon the Lady Tigers got a split of the two games against the Lady Dawgs winning game one 5-4 before losing the second game 4-3. It was a good start to the season for Hudson as they rallied to score two runs in their final at bat to take the narrow win over the Bulldogs in the season opener at Morenci. Senior Courtney Walter and freshman Ali Anderson both reached base in the top of the seventh via walks and a passed ball moved them to second and third base. With two outs junior clutch hitter Sam Merillat ripped a basehit into the gap in center field to score both girls and put Hudson on top 5-4. Then the game’s hero Merillat went out and shut down the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh as she recorded two strikeouts and a groundout for the Hudson win. The key to her pitching win in the opener was that she didn’t issue a walk and she also had seven strikeouts despite giving up nine hits. Hudson was the beneficiary of eight walks in the opening game win as they totaled just five hits but they got the win.
In the second game the contest was again very close but this time Morenci prevailed with its own one-run win. Hudson scored a run in the fourth inning on a pair of Bulldog errors to make it 3-1 as they trailed. They were able to add two more runs in the sixth as catcher Ashley Monahan tripled and scored on a triple by Merillat who then scored on a single by Ashley Schneider to knot the score at 3-3. In the seventh inning it looked like Hudson was take the lead as Katie Benschoter smacked a triple to lead off the inning but she was stranded by a trio of strikeouts recorded by Bulldog pitcher Tia Tompkins. Then with two outs the Bulldogs used two singles and a walk to load the bases. A bloop single to center that just fell in scored the winning run for Morenci in the bottom of the seventh to help them salvage a split. Lady Tiger pitcher Jada Bellfy came on in relief of Merillat for the final four innings and she suffered the loss in the circle. Bellfy had two strikeouts, walked one and allowed six hits.
Hudson head coach Connie Varney in her first season back coaching the girls was pleased with the results. “We had kids come through at big times,” said Varney. “This was definitely was plus for us. We were down to our final outs a couple of time and kids came through in the first game and also in the second game. We just needed one more hit in that second game and we could have won both.”
Tompkins got the win for Morenci in the second game as she walked just one this time and had eight strikeouts while allowing three hits.
Morenci had put in just six full practices due to the long run of the girl’s basketball team to the state semifinals but they were ready to go on this cool, early spring afternoon in 40 degree game-time temperatures. Hudson’s softball team will resume action after spring break and the other four teams of baseball, golf and the two track and field teams will also get underway.