Bulldogs learn playoff details, coach talks keys to postseason success

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 3, 2022

NEDERLAND — The Nederland baseball team punched its ticket to the postseason over the weekend with a 5-1 win over rival Port Neches-Groves.

The Bulldogs now turn their attention towards a playoff matchup against Friendswood.

The teams will play and home-and-home style series with Nederland hosting Game 1 at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Game 2 will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Friendswood, with a Game 3 to follow immediately, if necessary.

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“We are extremely excited for our players,” Nederland Head Coach Bryan Spell said. “We talked a couple of weeks back and felt like we deserved to be in the playoffs, but we had to go earn it. The kids went out and did that.”

Spell said the Bulldogs will have to make the Mustangs earn every run if they want a chance to pull off the upset.

“That has been our Achilles heel,” he said. “We get pretty good outings from our staff. One mistake here or there leads to a big inning. That will be a huge key for us. We are also going to have to take advantage of every opportunity they give us. They have some really good arms and we have to execute on those opportunities.”

Spell said he hopes momentum from the win over PNG carries over to the playoffs.

“I know they are excited and anytime you get to play PNG, it is big no matter what the stakes are,” he said. “It is always a big contest not matter what the sport is. We will definitely have to refocus. We have a tremendous challenge in front of us with Friendswood.”

Spell hopes his team can stay focused like the Bulldogs have over the past few weeks as the playoff run intensified.

“I think the kids did a great job of handling things when it didn’t go our way,” he said. “They competed extremely well, and we are going to have to stay in a very competitive mindset for the next however many innings we get to play. One call can’t change the momentum. We are going to have to stay mentally competitive. We can’t get down on ourselves.”

Spell credited the senior leadership for maintaining composure through rough patches over the past few weeks.

“Our leadership made sure that no matter what happened, our guys continued to be mentally prepared to compete every pitch,” Spell said. “I expect the same coming into this week.”