DEWITT — Central DeWitt baeball coach Shane Sikkema wanted to wait and use pitcher Luke Anderson at today's North Fayette Valley tournament.
Sikkema didn't want to overwhelm the freshman southpaw on Friday night in a front of a home crowd and a rivalry game with Northeast.
His assistant coaches felt Anderson could handle the moment. They were right.
Anderson, a transfer from Calamus-Wheatland, tossed a complete game for the Sabers in their 4-2 triumph over the Rebels.
"He's exceeded my expectations on the season," Sikkema said. "I thought he'd be a one- or two-inning guy. He's giving us two great quality starts and two victories."
In his first varsity start last week against Williamsburg, Anderson threw five no-hit innings with 12 strikeouts. He wasn't as overpowering this time around, but yielded only three hits and retired 11 straight at one point.
"I had some confidence coming out here after last week," Anderson said. "After that first inning, I got settled in, got in the zone and got my rhythm."
Pitching was not a priority for Anderson until a couple of years ago. He's started watching more big-league baseball on television and developed a passion for it.
He has aspirations of pitching at the next level. That was part of the reason for transferring from Calamus-Wheatland to a 3A program in Central DeWitt.
"I'm using my legs more and getting more mentally sound," Anderson said. "It isn't just focusing on throwing hard. It is getting in the zone and hitting spots."
Central DeWitt, coming off a state tournament appearance last year, mustered enough offense to back Anderson and even its record at 9-9.
The Sabers came into the game hitting just .232 and averaging just a little more than three runs per game. They had eight players in their lineup record a hit Friday.
Garrett Finley laced a run-scoring double in the opening frame and Austin Weiss had a one-out double in the third that led to a run.
"We play a lot of small ball, get runners in scoring position and hopefully somebody comes up with a clutch hit," Weiss said. "We try and take advantage of all the opportunities we get since we aren't hitting the ball as well as we like right now."
The Sabers also capitalized on a half-dozen Rebel errors that led to three unearned runs.
Weiss believes the pieces are in place to go on a run of success.
"We have the potential to be a really good team," he said. "We have a lot of young guys on the infield who were getting used to the varsity level. The last part of the season, we should be going on a good stretch of wins."
Northeast (9-9) is in a mid-season rut. The Rebels have dropped five in a row.
Matthew French was a bright spot for Northeast with two hits and both RBIs, but the Rebels have scuffled offensively and in the field.
"It seems like when things aren't going well, they really aren't going well," Northeast coach Tyler Howe said. "We've got to find a way to get some confidence in our guys again and hopefully be ready to play (next week)."
Central DeWitt 4, Northeast 2
Kyle Dell, Matthew French (6) and Travis Mickelson. Luke Anderson and Joel Kirby. WP -- Anderson. LP -- Dell. Two or more hits -- Northeast, French; Central DeWitt, Austin Weiss. 2B -- Central DeWitt, Weiss, Garrett Finley. 3B -- Northeast, French. RBI -- Northeast, French 2; Central DeWitt, Devin Hurdle, Finley, Drew Kueter.
Records: Northeast 9-9; Central DeWitt 9-9