, Port Arthur, Texas

April 7, 2013

PREP NOTEBOOK: Mid-County Madness, Part II to honor Watts

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News


On Saturday, the Nederland softball team will host Port Neches-Groves in the second installment of Mid-County Madness. This rivalry will take a back seat to a good cause, though, that the start of the game.

In recent years, the Nederland portion of MCM has been the Strike Out Cancer game, with both sides raising money for cancer research. This year, the Lady Bulldogs are hosting a benefit along with Brooke’s Believers for Ashley Watts.

Watts, a 10-year old at Highland Park Elementary, was diagnosed in November 2011 with a rare and serious blood disorder. Watts received a bone marrow transplant on Nov. 26, 2012 and has been traveling back and forth from Texas Children’s Hospital for treatment.

The 6th annual Mud Bug Benefit is being hosted by Brooke’s Believers on April 20 at the Rockn’ A Café on Cardinal Drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise money for Watts. A portion of those proceeds will go to cover current and ongoing medical expenses.

The Nederland softball team will be pitching in on Saturday, with Watts throwing out the first pitch at the game and being recognized along with her mother, Ginger, and her family. The Lady Bulldogs will also donate items for the benefit, as well as bring drinks and donating their time with the kids on the day of the benefit.

Nederland and PN-G will play at 7 p.m. Saturday. PN-G beat Nederland 7-3 at the Reservation earlier this season. The Lady Bulldogs have won five straight games since losing to the Lady Indians, while PN-G has gone 2-3 since that victory, losing to Vidor, Lumberton and LC-M.

Game of the week

LC-M at Nederland softball – Speaking of those Lady Bulldogs, they may be playing in the most hotly contested game of the weekend. If Nederland wants to claim a share of the district title, it needs to pick up a victory over LC-M here.

That won’t be easy, as the Lady Bears are up to No. 6 in the state polls and survived a scare against PN-G last week by scoring six runs in the sixth inning. Nederland lost 7-1 at LC-M earlier this season and will need a strong effort from starting pitcher MaKayla Kelly to stifle the Lady Bears.

Even if Nederland beats LC-M on Friday, the Lady Bulldogs will need some help to claim a share of the district title, as they sit two games back of the Lady Bears.

Area rife with no-hit bids

From two multi-pitcher no-hitters last week in Mid-County to Yu Darvish’s almost-perfecto at Minute Maid Park, it seems like no-hitters are popping up this season in epic proportions. Nederland’s three pitcher no-hitter on March 26 was followed by a PN-G three pitcher no-no on March 28.

While impressive, what those games really highlight is how much pitching depth both teams possess. Both PN-G and Nederland have three starters capable of working in a district game loaded bullpens that can extend games and miss bats.

That’s what made for such a great matchup in that 11-inning classic during Mid-County Madness, Part I. Did you know that both teams struck out 17 batters in that game?

That depth will be on full display this weekend, as Nederland hosts Central on Friday and then hosts Vidor on Saturday. PN-G has a brutal road trip, traveling to Livingston on Friday and then traveling to co-district leader Lumberton on Saturday.

Did I mention that Nederland, PN-G and Lumberton are all tied for the district lead with one loss apiece? Starting this weekend, the 20-4A baseball race should get very interesting.

Another former player in college

Add another name to the list of former baseball and softball players in college. PN-G’s Aaron Graham is a freshman at Galveston College this season. Graham has pitched in six games as a reliever, going 1-0 in 5 2/3 innings with a 6.35 ERA and four strikeouts.

If you know of any other former players in college, please email us at and we’ll update them here.