Softball games can often come down to inches. On Saturday, in the second installment of Mid-County Madness at Nederland’s softball field, an inch in time scored five runs as the Port Neches-Groves Lady Indians swept the season series with the Lady Bulldogs with a 5-2 victory.
PN-G (15-9, 7-4) scored five runs in the crucial top of the fourth inning, capitalizing on well-placed hits and some ill-timed defensive miscues from Nederland. That erased a 1-0 Nederland lead and the Lady Indians never looked back.
PN-G last swept the crosstown rivalry series in 2011.
“They are a good team and we had to stay tight and play good defense,” PN-G head coach Brook Buchanan said. “Ultimately, they did well as a team hitting tonight. When we had a rally, we kept it going. That’s what did it for us tonight. It was a good team effort for us tonight. We’ve been talking about settling in at the plate and getting your teammates in. We did a very good job of that tonight.”
Defensive miscues haunted Nederland (19-9, 7-4) in the first Mid-County matchup, which PN-G won 7-3. The Lady Bulldogs had two bad innings fielding the ball then, and it led to the first four PN-G runs. On Saturday, it was combination of good luck for PN-G and two bad plays for Nederland that broke the game open.
Senior shortstop Ricki Gilbert led off the top of the fourth with a bloop single that landed in short left field, inches from three Nederland defenders. The next batter, Taylor Thompson, put down a beautifully placed bunt that found its way past a charging Nederland third baseman and pitcher, putting runners on first and second.
That’s when the first defensive gaffe hit for Nederland. Shelby Valentine hit a grounder to second that could have been an easy double play. However, Nederland’s shortstop couldn’t catch the throw from second and PN-G quickly had the bases loaded with no outs.