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Anderson Throws No-Hitter as Eagles Blank Bears

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BROOKSVILLE — Months ago, Florida Southwestern State College and Brendan Anderson agreed that the Springstead High senior will continue his baseball career as an outfielder at the Fort Myers school.
 
It might be time for both sides to re-think at least part of that deal. As it turns out, Anderson also can pitch. Quite well.
 

That was on full display Tuesday night as Anderson threw a no-hitter in Springstead’s 3-0 victory against Central. Throwing with deceptive velocity from a 5-foot-9, 155-pound frame, Anderson struck out eight and walked only two batters.
 
There’s an old superstition in baseball that no one should talk about a possible no-hitter until it’s complete. But Anderson, who never pitched on the high school level before this season, broke from that protocol as the Eagles improved to 9-9 on the season.
 
“I realized in the fifth or sixth inning that I hadn’t given up a hit,” Anderson said. “Before we went out on the field for the seventh inning, I got everyone together and gave a little pep talk. I said, “Guys, I need you more than ever right now. I need you to give me 110 percent.”.”
 
As it turned out, Anderson didn’t need all that much help from a defense that repeatedly came through for him in the first six innings. In the Central half of the seventh inning, Anderson appeared to be throwing even harder than he had earlier. He struck out the first two batters before the game ended with a soft ground out to second base.
 
 
“Yeah, I was throwing harder in the last inning,” Anderson said. “I knew (the no-hitter) was in reach and that gave me a little extra motivation and I dug down deep for everything I had.”
 
Brendan Anderson (Sr) of Springstead pitching. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Brendan Anderson (Sr) of Springstead pitching. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
That was more than enough for Anderson and the Eagles to win a game that mostly had been a classic pitcher’s duel. Anderson and his close friend, Central senior left-hander Justin Tranum, each held the other team scoreless through the first five innings.
 
But Springstead broke the game open with a three-run sixth inning. After Alex King led off with a single to right field, Nathan Sabino delivered a double to deep left field. With Springstead runners on second and third, guess who stepped to the plate?
 
Yep, it was Anderson and he gave himself and the Eagles more than enough offensive production to carry them to the win. Anderson’s single to left drove in King and Sabino. Springstead added one more insurance run as pinch-hitter Joey Rief’s sacrifice bunt allowed Anderson to score from third.
 
“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Anderson said of his hit. “When you put the ball in play, good things are going to happen.”
 
That’s something Anderson has had little trouble doing through most of his three seasons on the Springstead varsity. As a junior, Anderson had a .423 batting average and he hit .417 as a sophomore. This year, however, Anderson’s average had dropped as he ran into some tough luck. He entered the game against Central with a .295 average.
 
“I’ve been hitting the ball well,” Anderson said. “But, a lot of times, it’s been hard line drives right at people.”
 
But the dip in average hasn’t caused Springstead coach George Nessmith to lose any confidence in Anderson’s hitting. In fact, Nessmith has a ton of confidence in every facet of Anderson’s game. Nessmith played Anderson in center field the last two years and he played it well enough — and hit well enough — to earn the scholarship to Florida Southwestern State. But, as Anderson’s senior season opened, Nessmith didn’t have the least bit of trepidation in turning to the right-hander after last year’s strong pitching staff was lost to graduation.
 
“He’s been our best hitter for a long time,” Nessmith said. “But he’s been great as our No. 1 pitcher this year. I let him pitch every time he’s eligible (under Florida State High School Athletic Assocation rules on pitch counts and days of rest). He’s the guy I want on the mound the instant I’m allowed to let him pitch.”
 
Anderson’s big night spoiled a solid effort by Tranum. He held Springstead to six hits while striking out seven in a complete-game outing for a Central team that fell to 8-10.
 
“(Tranum) is my friend,” Anderson said. “In fact, we were just hanging out together a couple days ago. I respect him totally and I knew coming in that this was going to be a very tough game and it was. Give him credit, too, because he pitched a great game.”
 
Anderson will be off the mound and back in the field, while holding down his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order on Friday night when the Eagles and Bears meet again Friday night at Springstead.
 
“Central has the best team they’ve ever had, or at least the best team they’ve had since I’ve been around,” Nessmith said. “We used to be able to count on two wins against them each season. But you can’t take anything for granted with them this year. I know Friday night will be another tough game.”

 

Michael Dressendorfer (Sr) of Springstead catches a pop-up. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Michael Dressendorfer (Sr) of Springstead catches a pop-up. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Central's Dylan Lama at bat against Weeki Wachee. Credit: Cynthia Leota
Central’s Dylan Lama at bat against Weeki Wachee.
Credit: Cynthia Leota

Patrick Yasinskas
Patrick Yasinskas
I am a sportswriter with more than 30 years' experience covering sports on all levels. I started out covering high schools, but have covered the NFL since 1993. I have won numerous awards, covered more than 20 Super Bowls and have been a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter three times. I began my career covering high school sports in Hernando County, which remains near and dear to me, for The Tampa Tribune from 1990 through 1992.
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