Centennial's Hudson blazes past opponents

April 17, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Everyone expected Centennial senior right-hander Dave Hudson to be good this season. But this good?

Two starts ago he struck out 18 batters in a three-hit 9-0 victory over Howard. In his last start Tuesday he threw a no-hitter against Frederick.

The only way he'd be happier is if Centennial had won the no-hitter. Hudson walked four and the Eagles made six errors and lost 3-2.

"I hated to lose a wonderfully pitched game," Centennial coach Ron Martin said. "It's only the second game I can remember our defense losing. Two years ago we made eight straight errors and lost to Mount Hebron."

Hudson is 3-1 with a 0.00 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. He's walked nine and given up nine hits. He's thrown three three-hitters and one no-hitter and completed three of the four games he's started.

In addition, he's batting .421 with three doubles, a triple and six RBIs in 19 at-bats. And he's made just one error at shortstop where he plays when he doesn't pitch.

"He's on fire, no doubt about it," Martin said.

Word is out about Hudson. College and pro scouts are calling Martin to find out when Hudson will pitch next.

The Texas Rangers had a scout at the Frederick game. James Madison University was at the Howard game. The Atlanta Braves want to see him.

The main attraction is that Hudson throws hard. He's been timed as fast as 86 mph. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds he also has decent size.

"I didn't expect to do this well and I'm surprised I'm getting this attention," Hudson said.

"Losing the state championship game last season is what provided the drive for our entire team this season. We haven't stopped working to get better since that loss because we don't want to lose the state title again."

Hudson played summer ball for the Dayton Raiders.

But he first attracted attention from scouts at the Mike Martin baseball camp at Florida State University last summer. Afterward he started receiving letters from colleges.

His effort at the Chuck Ferris camp in Northern Virginia on Labor Day further enhanced his reputation.

Representatives from 10 Virginia schools attended, and Hudson and teammate Kurt Weitzel blew away the competition. Hudson threw 86 mph and Hudson 83 mph.

Hudson played for the Yankee Rebels in the fall and hit his peak during a game at Wheaton Park in October.

He now has at least five colleges pursuing him, including Ohio University, George Washington, Virginia Tech, James Madison and UMBC.

The 18-strikeout effort was one away from a state record but tied the county record set by Atholton's Chris Tressler. The no-hitter was the second of his career and one more would tie a state record. He also no-hit Carver in the regional championship game last season.

Hudson was 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA last season and would have had better numbers but the team had trouble scoring runs. He was 1-3 with a 2.86 ERA as a sophomore.

He says his personal stats don't matter. His no-hitter last Tuesday was hollow because the team lost.

"I'd much rather have a win than a no-hitter," he said.

He attributes improvement on his fastball and curveball as the reasons for his success this season.

"His curve is much better," Martin said. "His velocity is a little better and this season he's always around the plate even when he muscles up. Mechanically he's much more sound."

Hudson credits his pitching improvement to working with Jerry Bark at Grand Slam, a batting cage in Woodlawn.

"At the beginning of my junior year he broke down my pitching motion," Hudson said. "I continued to go there this winter and he refined my curve and taught me a slider."

Hudson also credits his catcher, Jason Babcock, for a lot of his success. "Jason calls a great game," Hudson said.

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