ALVIN – Santa Fe ace Brandon Holder had a little extra motivation facing bitter rival Friendswood, and it definitely showed in Thursday’s playoff game.
Holder led the Indians to a 1-0 victory with a two-hit complete-game shutout, and while he was calm and collected on the mound during the game, Holder said he was chomping at the bit beforehand.
“I was pretty antsy all day today,” Holder said.
Holder was perfect through 51/3 innings before surrendering his first hit of the game to Friendswood left fielder Bryan Fowler, who punched a single into right field.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Mustangs third baseman Drew Barba sent a single into right field, but the very next pitch was grounded to shortstop to seal up the win for the Indians.
Holder had no walks and seven strikeouts in the two-hit shutout win. Holder’s Friendswood counterpart Ryan Shetter was nearly as impressive in the tough defeat, giving up one run on six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.
Just in the nick of time
While Holder was baffling Friendswood batters, Santa Fe saw a few opportunities to get Holder some run support pass them by.
“It could have gone either way,” Indians head coach Ronnie Wulf said. “We had our chances early but didn’t capitalize on them. We just kept battling and finally got the hit that scored the run.”
Santa Fe center fielder Preston Plovanich smacked the very first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first into right-center field for a double.
After a sacrifice bunt by Holder, Plovanich was left stranded on third after consecutive groundouts.
In the second inning, Santa Fe got a two-out rally going with back-to-back singles by second baseman David Reyna and left fielder Aaron Theut, but Shetter struck out designated hitter John Snider to end the inning.
A single by Plovanich, a third-base throwing error and another sacrifice bunt put a runner on third with one out for the Indians again, but after a strikeout, an intentional walk and a strikeout, the Mustangs escaped trouble again in the third.
Santa Fe finally got their breakthrough run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single by Theut that drove in shortstop Yadir Muniz, who reached on a first-baseman error.
With Santa Fe now leading the best-of-three regional quarterfinal series 1-0, the two rivals will meet again 7 p.m. today in Alvin.
“We can’t get too high and have to come back ready to play,” Wulf said.
Game 3, if needed, will be 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Alvin.
High school playoff glance
Friendswood vs. Santa Fe
All games at Alvin High School
Game 1: Santa Fe 1, Friendswood 0
Game 2: 7 p.m. today
*Game 3: 12:30 p.m. Saturday