Coach Chad Hudson is a sports guy and for sure a baseball guy. Son Drew is at UNA and Will, now a senior, will join his brother on the Lions baseball team this fall.
But, as proud as he is of his own sons, he’s a coach who lives every moment of the game through his players. Enjoying the good moments and suffering through the tough ones, baseball is more than just a game for Hudson.
Like most coaches, seeing an average player blossom into a success is a big deal regardless of what his name is. Before this season began, he talked with excitement about players filling holes and the potential for a good year.
Now, with the season being threatened by a worldwide pandemic virus, he fully recognizes the need for serious action to be taken. He also knows that his players may not get the chance to accomplish their goals and enjoy a full season of high school baseball one last time.
“We’re just hoping for the opportunity,” Hudson said. “This is unprecedented. Obviously, none of us have ever dealt with anything like this.”
As he spoke following Monday night’s win over Plainview, all he really knew at that time was a state-mandated “dead period” for two and a half weeks was about to go into effect. The hope is that after that, a season can be salvaged.
But during that time, not only will there not be games, there can’t be any practice and there can’t be contact with the coaches and players wanting to work out and practice on their own. Those who do work out can’t use school facilities.
“That’s the really frustrating part,” Hudson said. “The state has told us we can’t do anything with the kids for two and a half weeks, and I get it, I really understand. But it’s a crazy situation.
“There are a lot of parks and fields around here so hopefully the kids will find a way to get some work in and stay in shape. But, who knows what they will have us doing in a week or two.”
While the coach is holding out hope for more baseball, he understands that if the team gets that opportunity, it won’t be easy to get his players game ready after a lengthy layoff.
“We feel sure they’ll give us a little time to practice and come up with some kind of format to get ready for the postseason, but it would be a really quick turnaround,” he said.
High school sports is all about lifelong memories, though, and Hudson would like to see his players get the chance to resume playing.
“Obviously, the health issues are the most important things right now. but from a baseball standpoint you just hate it. You hate it for this group of seniors,” Hudson said.
“We haven’t played an area game yet and we really felt we had some answers to some questions we had. We’d love to see them get the chance to see what they could do in the postseason.
“But, we understand the situation. We really do. It’s just frustrating.”
Arab 11, Plainview 1
With a cloud of uncertainty for the remainder of the season, the Arabian Knights entered the mandated break on a good note Monday night, when most everything went right.
“It was a good night,” Hudson said. “I was really happy for our guys. We hope and pray it’s not the end but we’re realistic and understand it could be.”
Tyler Benson got the win for the Knights, who had a big night offensively. Wilson Walker was 2-for-3, Ross Reynolds was 2-for-2 with three RBIs and walked twice, and Landon Law had four RBIs.
Arab scored four runs in the third inning, with doubles by Law and Will Hudson, and singles from Walker, Reynolds and John Michael Boles.
“This group of seniors is very special,” Hudson said. “They’ve been very committed and dedicated and I was very glad they got a win in what may be their last game.
“They played well and pitched well tonight.”
The Knights enter the state-mandated “dead period” at 8-7.
• JUNIOR VARSITY
Arab 15, Plainview 3
Likewise, the JV team goes into the break with a solid but not very competitive win.
“When we had the opportunities, we hit it,” said coach Josh Etheredge.
Clayton Miller had a double for the third straight game while Russell Bailey and John Ray Wilks had strong hits. Dakota NeSmith was the winning pitcher and Caleb Perkins got the save.
“It was a fun night for us for sure,” Etheredge said. “They helped us out a lot but we took advantage of the mistakes they made so that was a good thing for us.
“It was a good ending to the season if that’s what it breaks down to. We hope it doesn’t and we hope we get to play a lot more, but if not it was good to end on a win.”