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HUDSON -- The Hudson and Stow-Munroe Falls softball teams have had some memorable battles over the years.
On April 5 in Hudson, the Lady Explorers and Lady Bulldogs had another classic on the diamond.
Fortunately for Hudson, it had the one player who made the biggest difference.
Her name is Sara Gedeon.
The standout senior right-hander smacked the game-winning hit with two outs in the last of the seventh inning to give the Lady Explorers a thrilling 6-5 win over Stow.
With the victory, Hudson improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Suburban League National Conference. The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Gedeon blasted a game-ending double to drive in the winning run.
Prior to Gedeon's clutch hit, the Lady Explorers took advantage of a ball to the ribs and a sacrifice bunt.
Freshman shortstop Sadie Mrakuzic was hit by a pitch with an 0-2 count to lead off the inning. The Stow coaches felt Mrakuzic offered on the pitch, but their argument was denied.
Mrakuzic reached second on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Kayla Tucciarelli, but Lady Bulldogs' sophomore right-handed reliever Macie Bell got a crucial second out when Hudson sophomore catcher Cami Madar lined out to short.
However, Gedeon made sure the Lady Explorers had the final say when she smacked a 2-0 pitch toward the fence in left-center field to end the game.
Stow head coach Doug Hawkins said he considered walking Gedeon.
"We thought about it," he said. "We decided to take our chances and it didn't go our way."
Gedeon also had a stellar day in her 2017 debut in the pitcher's circle. She finished with 14 strikeouts and issued just two walks in seven innings of work.
"We know what Sara is capable of," Lady Explorers' first-year head coach Jeff Kurtz said. "She certainly has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the area. She was dominant early on."
Gedeon (1-0) allowed two earned runs as Hudson committed four errors. The Dominican College (N.Y.) recruit was especially tough on the Lady Bulldogs under pressure.
Stow was just 3-of-17 with runners on base and 2-of-13 with runners in scoring position.
"Gedeon is a good pitcher," Hawkins said. "She is one of the best pitchers in the area. We need to make some adjustments. We have to find a way to get more key hits."
Gedeon struck out eight batters in the first three innings. However, despite Gedeon's dominance, the Lady Bulldogs struck first in the top of the third.
Junior right fielder Rachel Mosko led off the inning with a bunt single and then came around to score on a one-out double to right center by sophomore center fielder Claire O'Verko, who eventually made it 2-0 Stow when she came around on a throwing error.
Hudson wasn't deterred.
The Lady Explorers scored four runs in the bottom of the third. All four of those unearned runs crossed the plate after the Lady Bulldogs got the first two outs.
Hudson took advantage of a throwing error that accounted for two runs and had four hits in the inning off Stow junior right-hander Clara Borsilli.
Junior designated player Mariah Duncan, who also saw time in left field and at first base later in the game, had a run-scoring double for the Lady Explorers. Madar added a run-scoring single to shallow right.
"The middle of our order is pretty solid," Kurtz said. "You can't really pitch around anybody. I feel pretty good about one through five."
Hudson took advantage of another error to make it 5-2 in the fourth.
With runners on the corners, Tucciarelli drove in junior center fielder Taylor Brest, who reached on a fielder's choice.
The Lady Explorers' defense played a major role in the Lady Bulldogs' rally.
Hudson dropped a pop fly with one out in the fifth and junior third baseman Hanna Ingram made the Lady Explorers pay with a run-scoring double to the fence in left field.
Ingram eventually scored on a two-out, run-scoring single by senior first baseman Lindsey Houck to left-center.
Stow tied the game at five in the top of the seventh, thanks to another Lady Explorer miscue.
O'Verko led off the inning with a single to left and Ingram followed with a walk.
Gedeon got the next two batters, but the game was extended when sophomore second baseman Jenna Stout reached on an infield error.
With the bases loaded, Gedeon got a ground out to short to escape further damage.
"It's just one game," Hawkins said.
Both teams had six hits. Hudson committed four errors, while the Lady Bulldogs made two errors. Stow left eight runners on base.
The Lady Bulldogs earned a 5-3 win over National Conference foe Twinsburg April 3 on the road. Bell got the victory in the circle. She finished with nine strikeouts.
Junior shortstop Brittany Hoopingarner led the offense with three hits, including a double, and a run scored.
Stow was scheduled to host National Conference rivals Cuyahoga Falls and Nordonia April 6 and 7. The Lady Bulldogs were set to play a doubleheader against Tallmadge and Woodridge April 8 at Tallmadge. Results of those games were not available at press time.
Stow is set to entertain National Conference foe Brecksville-Broadview Heights April 10 before heading to North Royalton for a National Conference showdown April 12. The Lady Bulldogs are set to host Suburban League crossover rival Kent Roosevelt April 14. First pitch for all three games is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.