Prep Baseball Report

Shen's Anderson Leaves As Champion

Paul Gotham
New York, Staff

Shen’s Anderson leaves as champion

 It wasn’t the one-hit gem he tossed to open the post-season, but Ian Anderson did enough to win his final game in the Shenendehowa uniform.  The Atlanta Braves first-round pick tossed a complete-game shutout, and the Plainsmen defeated West Islip (XI), 3-0 in the semi-finals of the New York State Class AA championships at Binghamton University, Saturday.

The Basics

Anderson scattered five hits to send the Plainsmen back to the title game for the first time since they fell to Victor in the 2014 title game. The Vanderbilt commit struck out eight and walked none. He retired 10 batters in the infield, eight on ground balls. He had just one fly ball out.

Getting Through the Rough Patch

West Islip loaded the bases in the second on three singles – the third a Baltimore chop. Anderson threw 23 pitches in the frame – the last a 94 MPH fastball to retire the side. The first-round pick (third overall) needed just nine pitches in the third inning and set down six of the next eight he faced with the Lions getting runners aboard on an error and and infield single.  He hurled 76 pitches through five innings allowing just one base hit over the last two innings.

“I was fired up after it definitely,” Anderson said about getting out of the second inning. “You just have to stay calm. I’ve gotten out of many situations like that before, so you just got to think back those and try to execute.

“You can build off that. That was definitely the changing point in the game.”

“I wouldn’t say he was electric,” Shenendehowa coach Greg Christodulu said. “But he was good enough to win this game which is important. That’s the sign of a good pitcher.”

Quick Response

Anderson’s teammates wasted little time getting his back. The Plainsmen sent eight to the plate in the home half of the frame. Mike Jeffers drove in two with a one-out single to right center. Nick Jacques made it a 3-0 game with a one-run hit to right center.

“It was huge for us to get some confidence,” said Anderson’s twin brother and battery mate, Ben. “Obviously it gave us a lot of momentum getting out of that. It got us ready to play. It got us focused. We knew this team was going to be an offensive team coming in. We knew their pitcher was going to throw strikes, go after us. I think that rally they had there woke us up a little bit, and got us ready to play.”

Familiar Company

There were no surprises going into Saturday’s semi-final. Ian Anderson played summer ball in the past with West Islip’s starter, Ray Weber and his teammate James Kory.

“He did what he does best,” Weber said. “He threw strikes, pounds the zone…He’s bringing it. He’s bringing it mid-90s. I thought we did a great job putting the bat on the ball and putting the ball in play. They made all the plays over there. Hats off to them. They played well.”

“We knew we were facing a tough guy,” Kory stated. “We just went out there trusting our bats, trusting our defense. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win today.

“Happy he got drafted but we were looking to go out there and smack him. That didn’t happen today…He goes after hitters. He doesn’t waste any pitches. That’s hard as a hitter. Someone comes at you pounding the zone, pounding the zone. It’s very hard to hit. He made his locations today.”

Coming Back to Earth

Anderson was chosen by the Braves Thursday night. Less than 48 hours later he was on the mound for his final high school appearance. In between was a whirlwind getting back from Secaucus, New Jersey and traveling to Binghamton.

“We wanted to make sure these guys were grounded, relaxed and focused, Christodulu stated. All the excitement involving Ian’s draft, being down in Secaucus, New Jersey I wouldn’t trade for a minute, but it did put a little stress on our group.”

“It’s been great to have a chance to play for a state championship wearing Shen across my chest,” Anderson said.

Anderson struck out 12 when Shenendehowa opened the Section II playoffs with an 8-0 win over Columbia.

Not To Be Outdone

Before the end of the day, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Ben Anderson in the 26th round (792) of the MLB Draft.

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