Sometimes in baseball, all you need is one big inning. Fortunately for Sanderson, the Spartans got one really big inning on the road Wednesday afternoon against East Wake.
The Spartans (3-2) exploded for 11 runs in the top of the third, erasing a 7-0 deficit with a barrage of hits and a bevy of walks. Sanderson then scored six more in the fifth, closing out the game 17-7 after five innings.
Sanderson helped East Wake score seven runs (three unearned) in the first two innings by committing two errors on relatively easy plays. But the Spartans didn’t get down.
“There was a lot of frustration, but we knew we were a good team and would pull back together,” said Spartan first baseman Robbie Houston. “We put up 17 runs. We knew it was going to happen. We just had to fight back and get it together.”
Tony Piercy, in his first year as East Wake’s coach, had a long post-game talk with his Warriors (0-5), trying to focus on the positives after a difficult start to the season.
“Score-wise, you look at it and you’re like, ‘Wow, they got thumped,’ ” Piercy said. “And we did, but at the same time, if we can take the positives out of it and learn from the negatives, we’re going to be alright.”
East Wake starter Peyton Creech cruised through the first two-and-a-third innings, allowing only one baserunner (on a hit batsmen). But Creech then walked the bases loaded in the third before Sanderson pounded out seven hits to score 11 runs.
“I appreciate the resiliency,” said Sanderson coach Todd Laughlin. “Early in the season, you want them to face some obstacles – and overcome them. They did a great job of that today.”
They Said It
“That was a lot of fun,” Houston said of Sanderson’s big third inning.
Three to Know
Robbie Houston, Sanderson: The junior first baseman had three hits, including a three-run home run in the fifth and a two-run single in the third, and five runs batted in.
Jaxon Bunton, Sanderson: The junior tied the game 7-7 with an RBI double in the third after giving up seven runs – four earned – in two innings as the starting pitcher.
Juan Torres, East Wake: The Warriors’ lead-off hitter had two hits and an RBI and scored two runs.
By the Numbers
15: Batters for Sanderson in the third.
9: Spartan batters who scored in the third.
7: Hits in the third for Sanderson.
5: Walks given up by the Warriors in Sanderson’s big inning.
4: Spartan doubles in the third (Alim McNeill, Bunton, Bennett Montgomery and Cory Wood); also the number of Warriors who had two-hit games (Torres, Devin Worley, Trevor Creech and Peyton Creech).
In each of its first four games, East Wake was tied or leading after five innings before losing. Wednesday’s game was the Warriors’ first with a big lead.
“One of the things we talk about is playing 21 outs,” Piercy said. “We played six outs really well. Maybe not having a lead more than one or two runs the whole year was new territory. We probably let our guard down a little bit, so that’s a good learning experience.”