The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Nederland, Port Arthur Memorial and Port Neches-Groves’ baseball teams all obviously want the same thing this season, a trip to the postseason.
All three have legit shots to make their head coaches very proud after the 2014 season.
Memorial enters the third season under Jesse Riojas who came over from West Orange-Stark.
The Titans were only two wins from reaching the postseason a year ago and ended with an 11-13 record.
“We have a shot this year,” Riojas said. “The district is tough as always but I like this group of guys. We are going to battle every game.”
Memorial’s playoff aspirations start with a duo of very strong pitchers.
Seniors Robert Howard and Ramiro Sanchez are both aces in Riojas’ mind. Jonathon Sanchez will also be counted on to deliver wins from the mound this season. Howard and Ramiro Sanchez when not pitching will be used as utility players while Jonathon Sanchez will slide over to third base.
Abraham Cuevas gives Memorial a strong finishing batter of the catcher/pitcher combo from behind the plate. Jose Perez and Gama Martinez will also be big factors for this Memorial baseball team.
Torian Lott, when done with basketball, will also be picking up a bat and swinging for the Titans. Riojas reported Lott came out to audition for the team after not playing for at least a year or two. Riojas said what came off Lott’s bat was far and away enough to make a roster spot available.
Riojas also has added a familiar Southeast Texas player to his staff to give the coach even more experience. Former Beaumont Ozen standout Albert “DD” Lott will be an assistant baseball coach. He is Torian Lott’s uncle.
Over at Port Neches-Groves High School, the Indians have a new face to run the baseball program.
Scott Carter was hired in late June after former coach Mark Brevell resigned to take a position at Groves Middle School.
If Carter can have the same success he had at his past job, the Indians should be in great shape.
Carter was previously the coach at Sweeny High School and won three straight district championships. He took Sweeny to the state championship in 2012 and lost to Bridge City last year in the area round.
PN-G finished 16-13 last year and placed second in District 20-4A behind the Nederland Bulldogs.
The Indians are expected to have one of the area’s best pitching staffs with a pair of Logans at the top of the rotation.
Righty Logan Ashworth is the ace and this past fall inked with the University of Alabama. Lefty Logan Chipman gives the Indians the feel of two aces. Chipman recently signed with Weatherford Junior College.
Senior Lance LeDoux and sophomore left-hander Ryan Leckich give PN-G a very deep staff.
“Pitching and defense should be a strong point of this team,” Carter said.
Nederland starts the year as one of the area’s best baseball teams.
Cody Robbins’ squad finished last year 26-7-2 and was 12-2 in district, giving the Bulldogs another league championship.
Nederland’s season came to a close in the regional quarterfinals at the hands of Montgomery who collected 19 hits in two games in 3-1 and 15-5 victories. The Bulldogs came into the round after sweeping Hutto by a combined score of 14-1.
“We expect to compete for a district championship and to win in the playoffs,” Robbins said. “We will be a young team but we believe in the players we have. This team has already shown signs of improvement through our scrimmages.
“We believe we will be able to pitch, play solid defense and hit enough to win. We play in three very competitive tournaments in three weeks to prepare us for the very tough district race ahead of us.”
Nederland will be guided by senior catcher Brian Feltman and senior Beau Stewart on the mound. Korey Clark is another senior who will see time on the bump and also play in the infield. Robbins will also seek big contributions from outfielder Colby Price, utility player Austin Krautz, infielder Brayden Nevala, utility players Colton Broussard and Brett Smith.