PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 18, 2013

PREP HARDBALL NOTEBOOK: PN-G's Leckich flirting with no-no's

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

— As much flirting as Port Neches-Groves freshman Ryan Leckich is doing with Destiny, he’s got to have a date with her soon.

The precocious pitcher for the Indians has twice taken a no-hit bid into the later stages of a game before losing it.

The last time happened last Friday at Little Cypress-Mauriceville, when Leckich carried a no-hitter into the fifth before tiring and giving way to Logan Ashworth after the no-no had been broken up.

Earlier in the season, Leckich had sailed into the seventh with a no-hitter before encountering a problem. With two outs, the freshman got a ground ball that was booted by his fielder, putting a runner on first. After a walk, Leckich finally gave up a hit, which drove in a run and broke up both his shutout and no-hitter in one fell swoop.

That a freshman is getting starts in district play should give you some idea of the high regard PN-G head coach Mark Brevell holds Leckich in. If he keeps missing bats like this, the rest of the district could develop the same.

PN-G’s game on Tuesday also switched locations. Instead of playing at Beaumont Central, the Indians will host the Jaguars at 7 p.m.

Game of the Week

Nederland baseball at PN-G — We’ll have more to say about this one in Friday’s paper, but suffice it to say whenever these two crosstown rivals meet, it’s worth the price of admission. Nederland lost last season at the Reservation when Grant Guidry hit a home run in the sixth inning to give PN-G a 6-5 win. The Bulldogs appear to be the early, early favorites to take the 20-4A title away from PN-G, who won it last season with an undefeated 14-0 record.

Did I mention that Leckich could be on the mound for the Indians against Carson Raines, who struck out 11 for Nederland last Friday? Should be a lot of fun.

PN-G’s Ashworth ‘Bama bound

PN-G junior pitcher Logan Ashworth may have become the first area Class of 2014 baseball player to commit this winter when he verbally committed to the University of Alabama.

Ashworth made the workout rounds in the fall, appearing at the Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase Main Event at the Jet Blue Player Development Center in Fort Myers, Fla. in December. It was there he met with the Alabama coaching staff and felt good enough to commit to the Crimson Tide.

 There is a significant Southeast Texas link at Alabama. Head coach Mitch Gaspard was a standout infielder at Port Arthur’s Thomas Jefferson High School in the early 1980s.

Another freshman almost hits milestone

Leckich isn’t the only freshman almost reaching some statistical milestones. Port Arthur Memorial freshman Ramiro Sanchez just missed out on hitting for the cycle against Channelview last Friday. Sanchez finished a home run short of the cycle, picking up a single, a double and a triple earlier in the game.

Earlier this year, Memorial’s Gama Martinez also came close to cycling against Buna. Martinez was 5 for 5 with a triple, a double and three singles and two RBIs.

Upsets in vogue in 20-4A

Last season, PN-G ran through Distric 20-4A like a buzz saw, winning all 14 of those district games and clinching the district title outright. Talking to Mark Brevell about that last season, it was clear how unexpected and impressive it was, since 20-4A is usually the buzz saw that chews up teams left and right.

Just look at how this baseball season has begun. The Indians open with a loss to Lumberton, but bounce back to knock off LC-M. Nederland pounds Vidor to open district play, before Vidor bounces back to shellack Beaumont Ozen. Perennial underdog Beaumont Central got the better of a good Ozen team, beating the Panthers 9-8 in eight innings. Central then got beat by Lumberton 18-1 last Friday.

Lumberton and Nederland both sit atop the district at 2-0 right now, but the odds are neither will make it through undefeated in this tough district.

David Coleman covers high school sports for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at dcoleman@panews.com or found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.