PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

April 15, 2013

PREP HARDBALL NOTEBOOK: Mid-County clash highlights week's action

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

— Mid-County baseball – What else could be this week’s Game of the Week?

Here’s a refresher for those of you who were out of town the last time these two teams tangled. Nederland traveled to Port Neches with an undefeated district record and a share of first place in 20-4A. With the wind blowing out the entire night, two great pitching staffs locked in a battle for 11 innings.

Both teams struck out 17 batters. Both teams combined to use five pitchers, with PN-G deploying all three of its district starters, as freshman Ryan Leckich started the game and then Lance Ledoux and Logan Ashworth relieved him. Nederland went with  Carson Raines to start before Jared Ramoin relieved him, much like what happened in last Friday’s 10-inning victory over LC-M.

Ashworth won the first Mid-County Madness matchup with a solo home run in the bottom of the 11th innings.

Since that point, Nederland has won its next six games, allowing just seven runs over 43 innings and averaging six runs scored per game over that stretch. Meanwhile, PN-G has gone 5-1, dropping one game at Livingston before beating district-leader Lumberton on the road.

With Lumberton now trailing Nederland by two games and PN-G by one, Tuesday’s Mid-County showdown might end up deciding the district champion. If the Indians can pull off the sweep, they’d have a big tiebreaker edge over the season’s three final games. If Nederland wins, the Bulldogs would have a two-game lead for first place with three to play.

No matter how you look at it, Tuesday’s game at Metreyeon Delahoussaye Stadium should be a must-watch event.

Softball playoff scenarios

With one game left to play in the District 20-4A playoff race, things are no clearer than they  were last week. Nederland, Vidor and Port Neches-Groves took care of business on Friday, meaning that they are all tied at 9-4 and in second place behind undefeated Little Cypress-Mauriceville.

That means Tuesday’s games will go a long way to determining seeding from 20-4A. Vidor has the toughest matchup, playing the Lady Bears. That likely means a loss, which would drop Vidor all the way down to the fourth seed.

PN-G hosts Livingston, the team left just outside the 20-4A playoff picture this season in fifth place. However, the Lady Indians will have plenty to play for, as they can nab the second seed on Senior Night, in front of plenty of friends and family.

Nederland has the easiest game on paper against Beaumont Central, but needs to win out to hold onto its place in the pecking order.

Since PN-G swept Nederland, a tie between those two likely means PN-G gets the second seed and Nederland the third. Based off Nederland’s sweep of Vidor this season, a tie with the Lady Pirates would likely mean Nederland grabs the higher seed and Vidor the lower one.

Don’t feel too bad, 20-4A, because your bidistrict opponents are in a similar mess. Over in District 19-4A, the only clear seedings thus far are the top seed and the bottom one. It appears that Barbers Hill, the No. 1 team in the state according to the Texas Girls Softball Coaching Association poll, has a lock on the top seed while Dayton has the fourth seed sewn up.

That leaves Crosby and New Caney duking it out for the second and third seeds. New Caney still has to play Barbers Hill in the final game of the season. If New Caney loses, it’d throw them into a tie with Crosby and a possible tiebreaker game.

That’s tough news for Vidor, by the way. The Lady Pirates snuck into the No. 25 spot in this week’s softball poll, but have to play the No. 1 team in the state in the first round because of last Tuesday’s loss to PN-G.

Memorial making run at playoffs

Heading into the stretch run of high school baseball season, the Port Arthur Memorial Titans still have a shot to earn their first-ever playoff bid. Right now, the Titans are a game out of the fourth and final spot in 21-5A with a 3-6 district record after falling 16-4 to North Shore on Saturday.

Baytown Sterling currently sits in fourth place at 4-5 while Beaumont West Brook is a half-game back at 3-5.

Memorial controls its own destiny in those races, playing both Sterling and West Brook down the stretch. The Titans have a bye Tuesday before traveling to Baytown for a big matchup Friday and then hosting West Brook on April 23. The Titans close at La Porte, but seemingly have a pretty clear road to the postseason, if they can execute.

Reminder on Babe Ruth signups

In case you missed it this weekend, the Mid-County Babe Ruth league is holding signups for the next two Sundays for its 2103 season. Registration will be held from 4-7 p.m. at Nederland’s baseball field.

New players will need a birth certificate and the fee to register is $100. Players are eligible to register if they are between 16 and 18 years old, born between December 31, 1994 and April 30, 1997. Nineteen-year old players are also eligible if they are 18 at any time during 2013.

For questions, contact either Jimmy Collins at 409-350-1745 or Clint Landry at 409-893-3598.

David Coleman is a sports writer for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at dcoleman@panews.com or found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.