It’s Green Wave in eight, 1-0
Garrett Hudson score the game winning run in the top of the 8th.
GHS 10 Zach Bartak fields as SH 2 Charles Allard advances
SH 8 Nathaniel Flachs out at 1 GHS 13 Michael Duclos
SH 22 Ryan Kleszczynski connects with runner on third
GHS Michael Duclos into 3rd safe
SOUTH HADLEY — Garrett Hudson had gotten tired of watching South Hadley High School celebrate.
The Greenfield High School junior pitcher was on the Green Wave basketball team that lost to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Division II boys’ basketball finals and saw his school lose to South Hadley in the quarterfinals of the hockey tournament. With the opportunity to do something about it, Hudson took matters into his own hands and led Greenfield to a 1-0 WMass quarterfinal in eight innings at South Hadley.
“I guess the third time is a charm,” he grinned.
Often the first rounds of the postseason feature the best pitching matchups as both teams can send their best arm to the mound. That was the case in South Hadley Monday as South Hadley’s Joe Ciolek matched Hudson frame for frame for seven innings.
“That’s the best game I’ve ever thrown in my life and he threw a good game, too. It’s a tough one,” said Hudson, who struck out 12 and didn’t walk anybody while allowing five hits. He made his pitching effort stand up with his eighth-inning offensive contribution.
Hudson led off the top of the eighth with a single to left, moved to second on Ciolek’s wild pitch and took third on Zach Bartach’s fly to right. Mike Duclos followed with a fly ball to center. Nate Flachs backed up in center to give himself a running start for a throw. He caught the ball and delivered a strong throw just up the third baseline, but Hudson slid past it easily with the go-ahead run.
Buoyed by the lead, the Greenfield junior pitcher struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth for his 11th and 12th K’s and got Mike Paleologopoulos to bounce to second to end the game.
“Garrett is a competitor,” Greenfield coach Tom Suchanek said. “He said ‘I’m not coming out.’ He probably would have pitched 16 innings if we let him.”
South Hadley coach Matt Foley tipped his cap, saying “It was a great game. That’s high school baseball at its finest right there. I commend my team for the way they played. Greenfield is a really good team and their record shows that. We knew we had an uphill battle.”
The No. 5-seeded Green Wave (17-4) advanced to face No. 9 Southwick, Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Western New England College. The Rams upset No. 1 Monument Mountain, 11-5, Monday. The No. 4 Tigers finished their season at 6-15.
Both pitchers were sharp from the outset. The first five hits of the game didn’t leave the infield as few balls were hit hard.
Greenfield nearly took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Hudson tried to score from second on an infield hit to the right side with two outs, but second baseman Nick Robert cut him down at the plate. The Wave got a runner to third again in the fourth, but Ciolek — seven hits, two walks, two strikeouts — stranded him there.
South Hadley’s best chance came in the bottom of the fourth when Ciolek led off with a double over the right fielder’s head. He moved to third on a grounder to second, but was stranded when Hudson, who featured a big curveball, caught the next two batters looking at third strikes.
“It was a sharp curveball,” Foley said. “He uses it at good times. There were times we knew it was coming and we couldn’t hit it. But he also set it up well. He painted the outside early and worked the corners. His fastball has some pop on it and that curveball froze us a few times. That was a product of him making the right pitch at the right time.”