Sanderson opened its conference campaign with a shutout win over visiting Wakefield Friday, pushing the Spartans to a 3-0 start on the year despite having only a couple of practices.
“We’ve had more games than practices at this point, so that certainly makes it interesting,” Sanderson coach Todd Laughlin said. “But we feel good about the progression throughout the week. Tuesday we were fortunate to get a win, and as the week’s gone on we’ve gotten better, so hopefully we’ve learned from some in-game opportunities.”
The Spartans were led by Walker Lozaw at the plate. The senior went 3-for-4, including a triple and RBI in the 6-0 win over the Wolverines.
Sanderson opened things up, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third as Wakefield relieved starting pitcher Jordan Ramos after two and two-thirds innings on the mound, but reliever Chase Allen only got a third of an inning to face the Spartans.
The senior questioned a call after being called out at first base to give the Wolverines their third out in the top of the fourth, and was swiftly thrown out of the game by officials. When Wakefield coach Ed Hall came on the field to question the ejection, he was thrown out as well.
The events complicated things for a young Wakefield team looking to get settled early in the year.
“We’re still trying to get our feet under us because we’ve had two really good outdoor practices and it’s hard to play this game when you don’t practice,” Hall said. “We kind of had a limit on our starting pitcher tonight. We didn’t want him to go above 80, and I think he threw 78.
“So then we bring in the guy that we had scheduled to come in out of the bullpen, and he gets thrown out of the game, so we didn’t even have anybody who’s ever played third base before, so we ended up putting an outfielder in there. It was just really a situation that kind of got out of control.”
Kyle Grewe came in to complete the game for the Wolverines on the mound.
Sanderson’s Ray Roby pitched a complete game, striking out nine Wakefield batters.
“I’ve got high expectations,” Laughlin said about the Spartans’ outlook for the year. “We’ve done well for the last few years and we hope to get that going, and we’ve got some good pitching and the key is to continue to get quality at-bats. (Roby) did great. It was nice he was able to keep his pitch count down. He got a little close there in the sixth inning when it got a little long, but he made some adjustments late to stay in the game and that certainly helped, not having to go to the bullpen.”
For Hall, the game served as another chance for his team to grow as the season gets going.
“They’re in our conference and we know them pretty well, and we know they have a good program and that it was going to be a battle,” he said. “I was concerned, and I think Todd was concerned too in that with so few practices you don’t really know. And we had some new guys in new positions, so they’re just kind of getting their foot on the ground in varsity baseball. So it was kind of an unknown and we’ll grow and improve from this game and see how the season plays out.”