A calm Dave Hudson is tough enough to beat on the mound.
But when the Centennial senior right-hander is inspired like he was yesterday, he is nearly impossible to hit .
"I don't like to lose and South Carroll beat us, 11-2, in the Gibbons championship game," said Hudson. "I wasn't at that game but it still hurt me and we had enlarged copies of the linescore of that game plastered all over our locker room before this game. I was really pumped up."
There was even one of the line- scores hanging on the fence in front of the Centennial bench yesterday.
The psychological ploy worked to perfection.
Hudson went out and threw a four-hit shutout against South Carroll and Centennial scratched out one unearned run for a 1-0 victory at Centennial.
Hudson, whose fastball has been clocked at 86 miles per hour, struck out 11 and walked just two to improve his record to 5-1 this season for 13th-ranked Centennial.
The Eagles' pitcher also had another reason to be sky high
He just signed a letter of intent Sunday to play baseball at Ohio University in the Mid-American Conference.
"That's a good baseball conference and I feel fortunate to be going there," said Hudson, who thought he had his top overall game of the season against South Carroll yesterday.
"I respect South Carroll," he said. "I know those guys can hit and jTC I had to be very careful to some of the top hitters in their lineup."
The only Centennial (10-2) run crossed the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning on a throwing error by South Carroll catcher Jeremy Hancock, who was trying to cut down Brian Dowell attempting to steal third.
Hancock's throw rolled into left field and Dowell came home. Dowell had stolen second after reaching on a fielder's choice.
The timing of the Centennial scoring was tough for losing pitcher Brad Schulze, who had just gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning by striking out Dan Christine.
Schulze was sharp all day and deserved a better fate. He allowed just three hits, struck out seven and walked four.
Schulze also executed perfectly on a hit-and-run situation in the top of the third inning that should have resulted in a 1-0 lead for the Cavaliers (8-6).
With runners on first and third and one out, South Carroll's Tim Beck took off for second base and Schulze blooped the ball where Centennial second baseman Kurt Weitzel had been standing before he went over to cover the bag.
But the South Carroll runner on third, Michael Paull, held up at third in case the Schulze bloop was caught, and then when the ball fell in, he hesitated before coming to the plate and was thrown out by shortstop Joe Mellendick.
"Don't ask me why we didn't score on that play," said South Carroll coach Joe Foltz. "We still loaded bases after that but didn't score. We tried to make something happen and didn't score, and they tried to make something happen [Dowell's steal of third] and did score. "
Hudson was helped by two outstanding defensive plays at short by Mellendick and a superb running catch in right by Dowell with a runner at first and two out in the fifth.
"If he [Dowell] doesn't catch that one, we have one run in and maybe more," said Foltz.