Desperate times call for desperate measures. For Nederland baseball, those measures included making the necessary plays in crucial situations over and over again.
In a pressure-packed Game 2 at Metreyeon Delahoussaye Field Friday, tensions ran high as the Bulldogs pulled off a 6-4 victory over Dayton to force a third and final game in the Class 4A bidistrict playoff series.
Game 3 will be at Nederland at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Nederland scored five runs in the second inning and turned two double plays with runners in scoring position to hold off the Broncos.
“I’m proud of our kids responding (from Thursday’s loss),” Nederland head coach Cody Robbins said. “I think that sent a message to them. They refused to be denied tonight. They remember what it felt like last year. We all felt like we had to do something. We’re still not out of this round. We still have to play tomorrow and fight to, but this is where we wanted to be.”
The biggest play of the game came in the top of the seventh. Dayton had already scored a run thanks to an infield error by Nederland, making it 6-4. On the next play, Dayton designated hitter Jordan Trahan singled up the middle with runners on first and second.
Center fielder Mitchell Sanderson, who had moved over from right field an inning earlier, picked up the grounder and quickly fired it home. The throw easily beat Dayton’s runner for the inning’s second out.
Nederland starter Jared Ramoin ended the game with a swinging strikeout one batter later.
“Mitchell has a strong arm,” Robbins said. “He’s not just a good pitcher, he’s a good outfielder too. All our outfielders have strong arms. He made a great throw when we needed him to.”
After having their bats silenced by Dayton’s Kevin Roe on Thursday, the Bulldogs struck quickly in the bottom of the second. Catcher Brian Feltman led off the frame by hitting a line drive home run to left field that bounced off a tree beyond the outfield wall.
“First thing on my mind was that (the ball) was leaving, ” Feltman said. “That was my first one. I was just happy to support my team. I was happy we bounced back and won after last night.”
Nederland chased Dayton starter Brad Sowell by picking up hits in eight of the last 11 at-bats against him. That included singles from Carson Raines, Aaron Sampere, Brandon Self, Jordan Wood, Feltman’s homer and a triple from Seth Barrow.
Barrow launched his triple to center, just out of the reach of Dayton center fielder Bryce Armstrong. Barrow rounded third, but the throw came in behind him to set up a rundown. Barrow dove back safely, but collided with the third baseman and suffered an apparent hand injury.
The senior left fielder left the game after scoring the third run of the inning and was replaced by sophomore Colton Broussard.
“We swung the bats well tonight,” Robbins said. “We have to swing the bats tomorrow. I’ve said it from time to time. We play good enough defense and pitch well enough to keep us in every game. We needed what we got tonight with that one inning. We kept telling our kids that maybe all we need is a spark. But, we have to keep it up.”
Dayton mounted a comeback against Nederland starter Jared Ramoin, scoring one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Ramoin was solid for Nederland, throwing 5 2/3 innings while allowing seven hits, three runs and three walks while striking out six.
The right-hander kept Dayton off-balance early by working both sides of the plate and throwing his curveball inside for strikeouts.
“He had trouble spotting his fastball at times, but when the pitch needed to be there, he made it,” Feltman said. “I always have confidence in Jared. I’ve caught him since we’ve been eight years old. We can read each other nine times out of ten. I just enjoy catching him. I thought he threw really well.”
Ramoin also benefitted from some great defensive plays. Twice, Nederland turned double plays to eliminate Dayton threats. The first came in the top of the second, as shortstop Brandon Self took a ball that took a funny bounce into his chest and relayed it to second. Tyler Spell caught the shuttle pass barehanded and flipped to first for the double play.
An even bigger twin killing occurred an inning later, as Dayton loaded the bases with no outs thanks to an error and two walks. Ramoin got a soft grounder to third, where Jordan Wood fielded it on the grass and fired to Feltman at home. The catcher then threw to first for the double play, ending Dayton’s scoring threat.
Nederland first baseman Aaron Sampere reached base all four times he came to the plate, going 2 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs. Third baseman Jordan Wood was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs while Carson Raines was 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and reached on a hit batsman.
Raines was one of Nederland’s two weekday starters for district play, but the right-hander has not pitched in two weeks since he started against Little Cypress-Mauriceville. Raines is unlikely to pitch Saturday, but Robbins did not name a starter for the third and final game of the bidstrict matchup.
Nederland 6, Dayton 4
Dayton 000 012 1 — 4 9 1
Nederland 050 001 X — 6 11 4
Brad Sowell, Tim Wehmeyer (2), Jerry Maddox (3) and Kevin Roe; Jared Ramoin, Korey Clary (6), Gabe Nevala (6) and Brian Feltman. W — Ramoin. L — Sowell. S — Nevala.
Leading hitters: NEDERLAND — Seth Barrow 1-2, 3B, RBI, run scored; Jordan Wood 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Carson Raines 2-3, 2B, HBP, run scored; Aaron Sampere 2-2, 2 BB, 2 RBIs; Brian Feltman 1-1, HR, RBI, 2 BB. DAYTON — Bryce Armstrong 3-3, BB, run scored; Jerry Maddox 1-2, 2 RBIs.
Records: Nederland (23-5); Dayton (20-10)