Baseball: John Hudgins
May 5, 2002
When John Hudgins throws his first pitch at approximately 1:00 p.m. today, he expects his father, Mike, to be in the Sunken Diamond stands. Having parents come to their games is routine for many Stanford players, but for John Hudgins it is a cherished rarity.
Most Sundays, Mike is on the job as the pastor at Vineyard Community Church in Laguna Niguel, California. He takes in most of his son's games the best way he can, in front of a computer screen in the church office listening to the audio broadcast and checking out the live stats on the internet at gostanford.com.
This Sunday, things are a bit different. Mike and his wife Janiece are returning from a week in Hawaii celebrating their 25-year anniversary and stopping by Sunken Diamond this afternoon in person to watch their son take on the Golden Bears.
Stanford has had lots to celebrate with Hudgins on the mound this season as the sophomore righthander has compiled a 7-0 record with a 4.01 ERA, making himself a legitimate All-American candidate after emerging as the team's third starter in the second month of the campaign.
Hudgins has come up big for Stanford on several occasions this season and gave the best performance of his career when the Cardinal needed it most last Sunday. After Stanford had lost the first two games of a Pac-10 series at Oregon State to fall to 5-6 in conference play, Hudgins tossed his first career shutout to lead the Cardinal to a 13-0 victory in Sunday's series finale.
'My goal was not to give up anything and just keep posting zeros, because I knew they couldn't beat us if they didn't score any runs,' said Hudgins after the victory that began Stanford's current three-game Pac-10 win streak.
Hudgins got his first shot as the team's Sunday starter versus Cal Poly on March 3 and responded by holding the Mustangs scoreless over the first six innings before finally giving up three runs in the seventh inning of an 11-3 Stanford win.
'Coming into the season, my goal was to be in the rotation,' says Hudgins. 'When I got the opportunity, I really wanted to take advantage of it.'
Hudgins continued to roll from there, winning non-conference games at California and USC the next two Sundays. His father was able to make the one-hour trip from his Laguna Niguel church to USC in time to see his son beat the Trojans.
'I think service may have wrapped up a little early that day,' laughs John. 'He jokingly tells me to ask if I could be the Saturday starter next year.'
Six days later his father got his wish, at least for a day, when he was able to see John pitch his first career complete game to beat Texas, 7-2, in the rubber game of a three-game series. The game was played on a Saturday after being moved forward one day in observance of Easter the following day.
It was the best of both worlds for the father who would like to see his son pitch more often and the son who relishes the pressure of the Sunday game.
'The final game of a series is always a big deal, because it is so important,' emphasizes John. 'You either want to sweep, not get swept or win the series.'
Every Sunday, there always seems to be something on the line ... and someone on-line.
by Kyle McRae