HUDSON — The Wadsworth softball team hit the unhittable on Tuesday. The Grizzlies scored on the unscoreable.
Unfortunately for Wadsworth, the Grizzlies bled to death by papercut in a 5-4 Suburban League National Conference loss to Hudson when Ava Butina’s two-out, bases-loaded duck snort plated Maddie Roukey in the ninth inning.
While Hudson (15-1, 8-1) still has five league games left, the Explorers are definitely in the driver’s seat ahead of Wadsworth (16-6, 9-3) and Brecksville (16-6, 9-3).
“They were all little bleeders and bloopers,” Grizzlies coach Mike Schmeltzer Sr. said. “We died of papercuts. We really did. I’m proud as heck of them.”
The problem for Wadsworth was Hudson never gave up.
Twice the Grizzlies had the Explorers down to their final strike, but twice Hudson found a way, scoring on a two-out, two-strike single by Roukey in the seventh and on a two-out, two-strike single by Paige Albrecht in the eighth.
When Butina’s ball landed two feet behind first baseman Jessi Voitko and about a foot inside the line to give Hudson the win in the ninth, it was fitting of the fight the Explorers showed in a never-say-die win.
“That was the definition of a gutty win,” Hudson coach Jeff Kurtz said. “We just battled down to the last out, the last strike, the last pitch. We had a kid that has been struggling, she hits a little flair. They just never gave up.”
Early on and for most of the game, actually, it appeared Wadsworth was going to join Hudson at the top of the league with two conference losses.
With Roukey (8-1) pitching, runs were probably going to be at a minimum for the Grizzlies. She came into the contest with six shutouts and had only allowed two earned runs all season.
Voitko shrugged those numbers off with an RBI single in the fourth.
Shelby Mayes followed in the fifth with an RBI double and Rynn Rench added a run-scoring single in the same inning.
The Explorers scored their first run in the sixth on a ball just about everyone in the park, including Hudson fans, thought Mayes caught off the bat of Olivia Stefanoni in left.
The home plate umpired ruled it a trap, allowing Roukey to score. Hudson scored again on a heady fielder’s choice where the runner went from second to home.
That set up the craziness of the seventh, eighth and ninth and brought heartbreak to Wadsworth.
“It’s a lot harder to take than the other games because we were playing them for first in the league,” Mayes said. “They’re a really good team with a really good pitcher. I think we all came crashing down when they had bases loaded in the ninth. We were like, ‘Oh man.’ We were all at that point where we were like, ‘Dang.’”
It was almost as if the extra-inning softball gods were evening things up. A day removed from a 3-2 SL win over Brecksville where the Grizzlies tied things with two outs in the seventh and walked off to win in eight, they felt the heartbreak of being on the other side.
“We literally have to brain wipe each other,” Mayes said. “We can take a lot of great things out of this game. We had some great hits, some great plays, but both teams are athletically talented. We need to bring the good out of this game instead of the bad. We played a very good game. We played nine innings and lost by one.”
That should only help Wadsworth as it opens Barberton Division I District play today against Copley and will likely play Walsh Jesuit after that.
“The past two nights will help us immensely,” Schmeltzer said. “Beating Brecksville in the eighth last night and then (Hudson) beat us like we beat Brecksville. The kids know now how to play in tight games. They came through. Cards just didn’t fall.”
Hudson 5, Wadsworth 4
WADSWORTH 000 120 010 — 4 10 1
HUDSON 000 002 111 — 5 14 2
Two outs when winning run scored. WP — Maddie Roukey (8-0) 9 innings, 4 earned runs, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts. LP — Cam Racin (2-2) 1 inning, 1 run, earned, 4 hits, walk. Wadsworth (16-6, 9-3) — Shelby Mayes 2 doubles, RBI, run; Jenna Skinner single, double, RBI; Rynn Rench 2 singles, RBI, run; Jess Ryan 3 singles, run. Hudson (15-1, 8-1) — Cami Madar 2 singles, double, run; Roukey 3 singles, RBI, 2 runs.