Nick Vandever and three Indian Springs baseball teammates remember how it felt to win only four games in 2007.
Then the Thunderbirds narrowly missed the Class 1A Southern Region playoffs last year, but at least a 16-win season built high hopes for 2009.
After starting 1A Central League play Friday with a 10-0, 18-8 sweep of visiting Beatty, Indian Springs is feeling like its first state title since 1973 is within reach.
“I kind of feel like this is our year,” coach Eric Hauge said.
Indian Springs (9-2, 2-0) has won five consecutive games, scoring 69 runs. Beatty (9-3, 0-2) entered with an eight-game winning streak.
“This is huge,” Vandever said of the sweep. “(Beatty) was supposed to be the best team in conference.”
Vandever, a senior right-hander, struck out 13 of 21 batters while pitching a six-inning three-hitter in the opener. In the two games, Vandever batted 5-for-8 with three doubles, one triple and four RBIs.
Though the Thunderbirds start four sophomores and a freshman, Vandever said they have their sights set on the postseason.
“We’re young, but we’re probably the biggest, strongest team out here,” he said. “We’ve just got to come together and win baseball games.”
Derek Oliver was 5-for-8 with two RBIs for Indian Springs, which collected 24 hits on the day.
“As a team, (a deep lineup) is our strongest attribute,” Hauge said. “All nine guys, I feel like, can get a base hit.”
Indian Springs scored four runs in the first and fourth innings of the opener.
The second game lasted only five innings after the Thunderbirds scored four or more runs in three innings.
Beatty coach Brian Hayes said winds gusting at more than 25 mph had nothing to do with the Hornets committing 14 errors in the doubleheader.
“We just didn’t come to play,” said Hayes, whose team has only 10 active players. “Commitment has been the issue. We’ve got kids who don’t want to put the work in. We just looked flat today.”
Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.In-depth high school sports coverage
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