Ryan Hudson was a happy role player on the Brown Deer WIAA State D3 champion basketball team this past winter.
And he was a solid golfer who narrowly missed out on an individual state tournament berth this spring.
But he rose to the top this summer as the face and top talent of a young Falcon baseball team with a new coach and a desire to get better.
The shortstop/pitcher with a great head for numbers and yen to be a baseball statistician, was named the Woodland Conference Eastern Division Player of the Year and was just recently named to the Now All-Suburban baseball team.
"He was a leader; right away in the early part of the season he was clearly someone everyone looked up to," said Falcon coach Ron Hedrick. "They (his teammates) leaned on him for decision-making and was a unanimous team captain. You could tell right away that he was someone with moxie."
Hudson would wind up leading the team in hitting with a .451 batting average (32 hits in 71 at-bats) with nine doubles, 21 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He also walked 13 times and had an on-base percentage of .541.
He took the ball in big situations on the hill, going 4-3 with 55 strikeouts and 19 walks. This coming school year, he will give it a shot and try to make the UW-Oshkosh baseball team. There he will start his path towards numbers glory as he looks to major in mathematics with an emphasis in sports statistics.
Baseball has always been No. 1 for him.
"I grew up watching the Brewers on TV; I just love baseball," he said.
Hudson started out playing for the Brown Deer Little League when he was 4 years old and gradually moved up into the Brown Deer Junior Baseball program.
"I always pitched, ever since we were allowed to" said the 6-foot-3 Hudson, "but in Little league, you also play everywhere."
That versatility landed him a spot on the Falcon varsity when he was a freshman under former coach Mike Donahue. He's played all spots on the infield the past four years, even taking some turns this season at first base with a little bit of catching thrown in, too.
That comes with having the best arm on the team.
Hudson played a lot of fall baseball, taking part in the BOSS Baseball program and he credits that for a lot of his improvement this season.
"I got a lot of good advice," he said.
He also felt that he and the team benefited well from the first-year coaching of Hedrick.
"He worked us hard in practice and had us really focus on the simple things," Hudson said. "We all knew that we were rebuilding and I think we had a better year than we thought we might have."
Hudson quickly gained the respect of opposing Woodland pitchers as he hit clean-up for the Falcons.
"I started to see a lot more breaking balls (as opposed to fastballs)," he said.
Hudson noted that the time spent with the surprising basketball team this winter was extremely beneficial to his mental outlook.
"It really taught us how to stay positive and win close games," he said.
Hedrick was impressed in all ways with Hudson.
"What really got me about him was how he was able to focus," Hedrick said. "He was very coachable. He really listened and would do what you'd want him to do. He struggled early on with his fielding but we worked on a couple of drills and he kept working on them until he got better."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Hayes helps Brown Deer/USM swimming team set two program records
- Brown Deer to induct 11 in its second Hall of Fame class
- Williams' diverse efforts lead Brown Deer football team to 41-0 rout
- Football: Pewaukee defense holds Brown Deer scoreless
- Gridiron Guide: Get to know: Brown Deer Falcons
- MTEF tennis program in Brown Deer a summer hit
- Brown Deer baseball team hung together despite tough season
- Young Brown Deer baseball team finds some rays of light
- Baun's injury doesn't mar Brown Deer's state track efforts
- Brown Deer boys' depth leads to six state track entries