For once, the pitching-heavy Bulldogs felt the sting of a sterling pitching performance thrown against them. On Friday at Langham Creek Field in Houston, Montgomery’s Collin Garrett baffled Nederland’s hitters for six innings, as the Bears beat Nederland 3-1 in Game 1 of a Class 4A regional quarterfinal playoff series.
The right-hander allowed just three Bulldog base runners through six and only allowed one batter past first base. Garrett struck out six and allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings while giving up three hits, one run and two walks.
“Two good baseball teams played today,” Nederland head coach Cody Robbins said. “I felt like we weren’t aggressive enough at the plate in the middle innings, but our kids are good about always coming back. It’s about as evenly matched as two teams can be.”
Garrett walked the first batter of the game, sophomore left fielder Colton Broussard, who was then sacrificed over to second base. However, Garrett then retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced.
The only hit Garrett allowed before the seventh inning was a single to mound opponent Mitchell Sanderson in the bottom of the second. Until the bottom of the seventh, Nederland only had four balls that left the infield in 22 plate appearances.
“He’s a good pitcher,”Robbins said. “I give him credit. But, I think we took a lot of fastballs we could have put swings on. Would those hits be outs or home runs? I don’t know. But, if you don’t swing at them, you can’t know. We have to get back to the basics and be more aggressive"
All those caveats were necessary because Nederland nearly rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh. After a leadoff strikeout, the Bulldogs quickly chased Garrett with three consecutive hits. Aaron Sampere, Sanderson and Brandon Self all slapped singles into the outfield to load the bases.