HOUSTON — HOUSTON — Mitchell Sanderson suffered one hard-luck loss this playoffs already. The senior right-hander was determined not to let it happen again.
Sanderson struck out 12 batters in a dominant performance as his Nederland Bulldogs beat Hutto 8-0 in Game 1 of a three-game Class 4A area round playoff series Friday at the Baseball USA complex in Houston.
Sanderson scattered four hits across his seven innings of work, allowing no hits or walks. He now has 117 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings this season.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Sanderson said. “I felt as good late in the game as I did at the beginning. People tell me I have a rubber arm, but I felt like I could keep throwing out there. My fastball was working well, which was good, because I couldn’t throw my breaking pitch for a strike.”
Nederland (25-5) will play Hutto (20-11) in Game 2 at 3 p.m. Saturday back at Baseball USA. Game 3, if necessary, will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.
Sanderson also struck out 12 last week in a 2-0 loss to Dayton. In that game, his teammates could not push across any runs and a couple runs came in due to errors.
“Mitchell threw the ball well,” Nederland head coach Cody Robbins said. “He’s thrown well all year. He did a great job of keeping the ball down. He threw his fastball for strikes and slider for strikes. He threw his change to keep them off-balance. It was a great performance by him.”
This week, it was Nederland benefitting from Hutto’s errors, as the Hippos committed two in the first inning and four total. Those two first-inning errors led to three unearned runs as Nederland sent nine batters to the plate.
In the bottom of the first, Nederland right fielder Jordan Wood hit a two-out double down the right field line. The next batter, catcher Brian Feltman, hit a hot shot to the Hutto third baseman, who could not come up with the ball, allowing Feltman to reach safely and Wood to move to third.