Gehrig Hudson stepped on the mound with fire in his heart, and a gritty determination in his soul.

Gehrig Hudson stepped on the mound with fire in his heart, and a gritty determination in his soul.

“I had to get the other day out of my mind,” said the Blue Springs South reliever, who gave up two seventh-inning homers to Liberty in a 12-9 Jaguar loss earlier this week. “I came in and knew I was going to throw strikes and save this game for (Jeffrey) Lemberger.”

He did.

Hudson pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the sixth inning and struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh, retiring the final two Truman batters on six pitches as South claimed a defensive-oriented 2-1 victory Friday night at Crysler Stadium.

“I had to stay under control, keep focused and not let happen what happened the other night against Liberty,” Hudson said. “It feels good to save this one. We needed this win.”

And Hudson needed some confidence.

“Gehrig gave up a couple of jacks (homers) to Liberty and it really bothered him – it’s baseball, it happens,” South coach Ben Baier said after the Jaguars improved to 2-1 on the season.

“We really wanted to get him back on the mound. He comes in tonight and faces their 3-4-5 hitters and strikes out the side in the seventh to save the game for Lemberger. You can’t ask for much more from your closer.”

Lemberger allowed just two hits in five-plus innings, but gave up a walk to opposing pitcher Tom Ruddy in the bottom of the sixth, and Connor Polacek followed with a single after suffering a shoulder injury on his previous swing.

Hudson came in to face the dangerous Brian Read, who hit into a fielder’s choice, moving the runners to second and third.

J.T. Hayes hit a slow roller to third that scored Ruddy with the Patriots’ lone run. The final Patriot batter grounded out to end the inning.

Using mostly fastballs, Hudson was dominant in the seventh inning.

“I threw one curve and the rest fastballs,” Hudson said. “I wasn’t going to let them tie the game up.”
South pushed across two runs in the first two innings on an RBI double by Austin Holland and Nate Goff’s sacrifice fly, that drove home Cale Benson, who had doubled.

“This was a good game,” Baier said. “Truman has had our number, so it’s nice to get this win.
“Lemberger didn’t have all his pitches working tonight, or he might have gone the distance.”

Holland saved a run with a big stretch at first in the third inning, and had to leave the game with a hamstring injury.

“They don’t think it’s serious,” Holland said. “I hope I don’t have to miss any games.”

Although he was disappointed in the outcome, Truman coach John Eglich was pleased with how his team played.

“It was a good game,” Eglich said, after the Patriots fell to 2-2. “Ruddy pitched well and we played some good defense. Ben’s kids played really well and (Hudson) shut the door on our hitters in the sixth and seventh.”