PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

May 1, 2014

Bulldogs take Game 1, 8-4

MONT BELVIEU — Just because Game 3 of its series against Barbers Hill had its time and location set Thursday night, Nederland has no plans of actually playing the game.

The Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead in their series against the Eagles with an 8-4 victory at Barbers Hill High School.

Nederland (20-11) won its 11th game in a row thanks in large part to the calmness on the mound from freshman Chase Kemp and the bats of seniors Brian Feltman and Korey Clark.

Kemp shook off early game nerves to go 6.2 innings and allowed just five hits and four runs with three strike outs and three walks.

It did not look like Kemp would last that long after the way things were looking in the first inning.

He gave up two runs on three hits in the first and he also struck out looking in his first two at bats.

“It had a little to do with nerves,” Kemp said. “We all started off a little shakey and thankfully we all finished off strong.”

Nederland’s offense was held quiet up until the top of the fourth when Feltman started things off with a double to left.

Colby Price then reached on an error and with one out Clark helped his freshman teammate out with a two-run triple to center.

Austin Krautz then put the Bulldogs up for good with a RBI single to right to make it 3-2.

“You will have some games that start slow,” Feltman said. “We settled down and realized their starting pitcher had nothing we had not seen before. We started to get agressive and not sit back and watch a lot of pitches and it led to scoring runs.”

The biggest and longest hit of the night came off the bat of Nederland junior Brett Smith.

Smith smashed a three-run homer off Barbers Hill’s Bryan Taylor in the fifth inning to give Nederland a 6-2 lead. Taylor lasted 4.2 innings and gave up four runs on five hits with eight strike outs.

“What better time to hit my first home run of the year,” Smith said. “I knew my team needed me and I am just happy to come through. The win was huge because we all want to clinch tomorrow night at home.”

Smith picked up his fourth RBI of the night in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly that plated Feltman to make it 8-2. Feltman had earlier doubled. Kemp led the top of the seventh off by getting hit by a pitch and taking third on Feltman’s double. He scored on a wild pitch.

Once Nederland got the lead, Kemp started to look like the same pitcher who earlier this year threw a two-hitter at Port Neches-Groves.

“When we got the lead I was able to calm down,” Kemp said. “I know I have to pitch my butt off out there and do what needs to be done.”

Nederland coach Cody Robbins knows better than anyone what type of pitcher he has in Kemp and never flinched starting the freshman in Game 1.

“Kemp was able to shake off the beginning of the game,” Robbins said. “He finally settled down and we started to make the plays we are supposed to make. It was great to have our two seniors come through to get things started for us and then Smith had the huge hit of the night.”

Kemp gave up his first hit since the first inning in the bottom of the seventh with two outs.

Kemp allowed a double and a single before hitting a batter. Barbers Hill scored two runs on a Nederland error and Robbins decided to end Kemp’s night and bring Clark in for the final out.

Clark did his job and got a strike out.

Now the Bulldogs will look to make it 12 in a row when the Eagles travel to Nederland for a 7 p.m. Friday start. Game 3, if necessary, was set for noon Saturday back at Barbers Hill High School.

“I told the team right after the game we cannot be satisfied,” Robbins said. “We want to finish this off at home tomorrow. That is why we play a series because you know Barbers Hill wants to make sure they get back to a Game 3 on their home field. We can’t act like we won anything yet because it is best two-out-of-three.”

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