College Station pitcher Hailey Hudson has a sharp breaking pitch to go along with her sharp mind.
Hudson tossed a two-hitter as the 12th-ranked Lady Cougars cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Bryan Lady Vikings in District 18-5A softball action Thursday night at Lady Cougar Field.
The league-leading Lady Cougars (19-3-1, 7-0) swept the Lady Vikings (18-11, 5-2) for the second straight season, and Hudson was a big reason.
The sophomore right-hander threw a no-hitter in the first meeting this season, striking out 11 and walking one in a five-inning, 10-0 victory. She stuck out 11 and walked one in the second meeting but changed things up this time around.
“I knew when we played them in the first round they were swinging at my riseball a lot, and I didn’t want to throw them anything they knew I was going to throw them,” Hudson said. “I wanted to change things up, and I didn’t want to throw it in the first through fourth inning, because I wanted to give them something later on that I knew they weren’t going to hit.”
The 5-foot-10 Hudson had uncanny success with change-ups in the final three innings as the pitch consistently fooled Lady Viking batters. Hudson had six strikeouts in the last three innings, including striking out the side on nine pitches in the fifth.
“She was dominant tonight, and that’s what we’ve come to expect that from her,” College Station coach Brandy Gibson said. “She’s consistent, and she’s very aggressive out there, and we feed off her energy.”
Hudson, who has pledged to sign with Texas, retired the last 12 batters in a row. It was her fourth straight shutout against Bryan.
“Last time we couldn’t stay off the rise,” Bryan coach Enrique Luna said. “Our kids did a good job of staying off the rise tonight for the most part, then she started the change-up, and it started working, and it got us.”
College Station had eight hits with sophomore first baseman Hannah Schnettler and junior catcher Grace Davis each having two. College Station put away the game with two runs in the sixth on RBI hits by Hudson and Davis.
Bryan freshman right-hander Jessica Adams (11-5) almost matched Hudson through four innings, but the Lady Cougars had a 2-0 lead thanks to some help. Hudson got credit for a double and Davis a triple in the fourth inning as the wind and sun gave the Bryan right fielder trouble.
“I thought Jessica did a great job early on of holding them off-balance, inducing the popups and groundouts” Luna said. “Unfortunately, we let her down a little bit. They’re a good hitting ballclub, and you’ve got to be able to make the plays when you have the opportunity.”
College Station pushed its lead to 3-0 in the fifth on Cami Winder’s two-out single.
Bryan’s hits were by Brenda Chavez and Brianna Garcia, who legged out a swinging bunt in the second, then was replaced so she could play in a bi-district game with the Bryan girls soccer team, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Nacogdoches.
“I’m proud of our kids. We competed well,” Luna said. “That’s all you can ask. [College Station is] a great ballclub, and they’re going to go deep in the playoffs in our region. We’re right at the cusp of being one of the top teams in our district, and hopefully we can stay there.”
NOTES — Bryan sang happy birthday to catcher Sanchez afterward. ... Bryan was without center fielder Briann Pendergraff, who has a finger injury.
(Editor's note: The original story had Schnettler as a senior)