The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR — Softball has already turned the corner into the second half of district play and most of the baseball teams will be doing the same thing shortly. What’s that mean? Time to look at the playoff picture.
Let’s start at the top, with Class 5A Port Arthur Memorial. Things may seem bleak right now, with the team’s 1-6 record in district play. However, the Titans played district leader North Shore very close in a 7-6 loss last Friday and have been in most of their games lately.
Plus, the Titans get to play fourth-place West Brook twice starting April 10. Memorial is currently sitting two games back of the Bruins and, with a little luck, could catch them for that final playoff spot. Of course, that’s assuming they can take care of business against fellow cellar-dweller Channelview this week. The Titans will host the Falcons Tuesday and play at Channelview on Friday.
In 20-4A, the Port Neches-Groves baseball team has asserted itself at the top with a big win over LC-M last week. Because of Monday’s rain, the Indians flipped their home-and-home with Central, and will now host the Jaguars at 5 p.m. Tuesday to close out the first half. They figure to stay undefeated in district play heading into the second half.
What’s more, PN-G will have two of the three games against the other district playoff contenders at home. Livingston will play at The Reservation on Thursday while LC-M comes to town on April 17. The toughest game left on the schedule may be next Tuesday’s Mid-County Madness matchup in Nederland.
Nederland is in the opposite position as the PN-G boys. The Bulldogs have to travel to LC-M on Tuesday (as we mentioned above), then go to Vidor Thursday, host PN-G and then travel to Livingston. That’s a rough stretch of games.
If the Bulldogs can maintain their current pace, they’ve got a good shot at locking down a top two seed from 20-4A.
On the girls’ side, things are still pretty jumbled. LC-M seems to have grabbed control of things, with an 8-1 record. Vidor trails the Lady Bears by a game while Nederland and LC-M sit tied for third at 6-3. PN-G sits a game of the playoffs, but we’ll get into their situation more in a minute.
New Nederland head coach Monte Barrow will wrap up a brutal opening stretch in his return tour with the Lady Bulldogs. Nederland travels to Livingston on Tuesday in a game that will go a long way to determining playoff seeding. After that, things get easier, as Nederland takes on Central, Lumberton and Ozen before wrapping up district play at home against LC-M.
Nederland baseball at Little Cypress-Mauriceville – This appears to be the story of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Nederland boys have been blisteringly hot since losing that close game to PN-G on Mar. 16.
Since that point, Nederland has won its last four games by a combined score of 34-6. That includes a 26-1 stretch over the past three games, including two shutouts.
LC-M, on the other hand, went into last Wednesday’s matchup with PN-G tied for first in district play at 4-0. They lost a close one to the Indians in the late innings, and then dropped an 8-1 game at Livingston on Friday.
You can bet the Bears will come into this one ready to play and raring to reverse this latest funk. Similarly, I’m sure Nederland head coach Cody Robbins isn’t letting his squad look past the Bears, even though the Bulldogs are now looking down on them in the standings.
Expect Nederland to throw strikeout machine Brett Brown in this one, while LC-M will probably start Reid Fults.
I mentioned the PN-G girls playoff picture could get complicated, and it’s all because of those Livingston Lady Lions. PN-G was swept by Livingston this season, losing the district opener on the road and then dropping the rescheduled game last Wednesday.
Both were close, nip-and-tuck games, but it still leaves the Lady Indians without a tiebreaker advantage in trying to lock up that final playoff spot.
The schedule doesn’t get easier for PN-G, as they have to play both LC-M and Vidor in its final three games. However, Livingston faces Nederland Tuesday and still has to close the season with the 1-2 punch of the Lady Bears and Lady Pirates.
If PN-G can hold court and win games against Lumberton, Ozen and Central, they need Livingston to lose to Nederland Tuesday and then drop both games against LC-M and Vidor to close the season. At that point, the Lady Indians would just need to split their final games with the Lady Bears and Lady Pirates to get into the playoffs. Phew…. I told you it’d get complicated.
Saturday night’s matinee between the Port Neches-Groves and Nederland softball team was a great game between to very good teams. But, it was also a great event for their cause, Strike Out Cancer. After the game, the public address announcer said the two schools had raised over $10,000 for cancer research and treatment this season.
First, the field lost power. This time, Mother Nature swept in again, as she’s done so often this season, and washed out the anticipated showdown between the top two teams in 21-3A. Silsbee and Bridge City were set to play on Friday, but a blown transformer caused the power to go out just before game time.
That game was then rescheduled for Monday, the first available date for both teams. When rain swept through the area Monday afternoon, it forced the two teams to postpone the game once again. This time, though, the wait will be longer, as neither team wanted to play three games in three days this week.
So, the two teams will meet next Friday, April 20 to finally play for the first time. That Friday was left open by 21-3A, so there won’t be a doubleheader.
A hearty congratulations go out to former PN-G baseballer Austin Stone, who picked up his first career college victory on Sunday for the Baylor Bears. Stone threw the final 2/3 of the 13th inning in a 5-4 Baylor win over Oklahoma State. Stone needed just eight pitches to strike out center fielder Jarrett Higgins and get catcher Jared Womack to fly out to center field.
On the season, the true freshman has appeared in five games, posting a 2.35 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. He’s allowed six hits, four runs (two earned) with six walks and six strikeouts.