Schilling's final innings
Lauren Havel/The Explorer
Freshman Ben Mehelic pitches in a recent J.V. game against Nordonia. Both Hudson’s J.V. and varsity baseball have had successful seasons.
They say there’s no crying in baseball, but the last game led by long-time Head Varsity Baseball Coach Chuck Schilling is sure to be an emotional day for players, coaching staff and fans alike.
Schilling plans to retire at the end of this season after a 25-year career leading the Hudson Varsity Baseball team.
“Chuck Schilling has essentially built the Hudson baseball program into what it is today,” says Hudson Athletic Director Ray Ebersole
Associate Head Coach Buddy Dice, who has worked with Schilling for 11 years, could not agree more.
“Hudson is a premiere baseball program in the state with top-notch facilities because of Coach Schilling,” says Dice.
Hudson certainly seems to be proving that true this season. The varsity team shares the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division title with Mayfield High School, and has a 20-2, record as of press time.
Many believe this success is due in large part to efforts by Schilling.
“Coach Schilling is a very caring and competitive person and is extremely driven – on and off the field. He wants what is best for his players, and it shows regularly. He spends an enormous amount of time helping players field, hit and throw so they can experience success in baseball. Regardless of an athlete’s ability, he always seems to believe in them,” says Dice.
Schilling’s coaching has served many Hudson alumni well after graduation, as several have had played baseball in college and in the minor leagues.
According to Dice, Schilling’s impact on his players stretches far past the baseball diamond.
“He makes sure that our players are well rounded and has always encouraged playing multiple sports. As students graduate and move away, he tries to follow and keep in touch,” says Dice. “He has made an impression on many young men.”
Dice lists several of his favorite memories working with Schilling.
“When he has a lot on his mind he tends to hum or sing. He tends to elevate his voice when he’s mad and has the ability to talk with umpires like no other coach in the state. This year’s team will always remember the Kenston game as Coach Schilling got a little heated about a play that had the potential to hurt a Hudson player.”
Dice adds, “My favorite is the post-game speech at Solon in 2009. That team had lost several close games and was not doing well overall. I remember him talking to the team and said, ‘I hate Solon!’ – as their players were within earshot. Needless to say, that team went on to beat Solon in the District semi-final in the last inning.”
Schilling will certainly end his successful 25-year career on a good note, as Hudson is top-seed in the Valley Division. After 11 years working side-by-side, Dice has a message for Schilling:
“Not only do we want to thank you for your years of service, we want to thank you for being a friend.”