Nelson Martz of Roxana High School, left, and Bryan Hudson of Alton High School.
Bryan Hudson and Nelson Martz tower above the opposition.
Hudson, a 6-foot-7 junior at Alton High School, and Martz, a 6-foot-4 incoming freshman at Lewis and Clark Community College, each rose to the occasion time after time for their teams this season, on the mound and at bat. Their efforts this season and throughout their high school careers have made them each AdVantage News’ first co-athletes of the year for baseball.
The Shells ended their season at 15-16, with Martz’s pitching and hitting lifting his team throughout the season. He batted .510 through his first 19 games, owning 21 RBIs for second-best on the team. When he’s not pitching, you usually can find him at third base.
“One of our main goals this season was to get a regional championship,” Martz said. “We got one too, and on top of that, we beat Piasa Southwestern, who had beat us out for the championship the year before.”
On the mound, Martz was an ace all season long for the Shells. He was 3-1 with a 1.24 ERA, a no-hitter and two shutouts. Martz, son of Randy Martz, his future LCCC baseball coach, had close to 60 strikeouts in nearly 40 innings this season.
Hudson, the junior left-hander, put up big numbers this season as well.
His team bowed to Edwardsville in their regional championship this year and the young Redbirds ended their season at 22-15. To get there, he provided a key RBI double and earned the save on the mound as Alton defeated Quincy, 3-1, in a semifinal game of the Redbirds’ Class 4A Regional. However, he suffered a tough-luck 1-0 loss to Edwardsville in the championship game at Moore Park.
“We had a young team, but I can honestly say that we learned a lot from every game,” Hudson said. “Next year, we’re going to take what we learned this past season and over the summer and put it to the test.”
During the season, Hudson batted .333 with five home runs and 32 RBIs for the 22-15 Redbirds. He was 9-4 on the mound with a 1.33 ERA. Two of his defeats were by 1-0 scores. His other losses were 2-1 and 3-2.
Hudson also proved to be a pivotal player for the AHS basketball team, which finished 22-6. He averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Redbirds, second in the Southwestern Conference.