, Port Arthur, Texas


March 4, 2013

Local softball teams heading into district play

Softball teams around the area have swung into district play recently. Three local teams are looking to make their marks this season, including one with a newly minted head coach off to a good start.

Nederland (13-5, 1-0 in District 20-4A) is playing with its fourth coach in three seasons. After Sissy Yeaman stepped down to serve as an assistant principal at the high school after the 2011 season, Heather Holloway was hired from Shelbyville. Halfway through the 2012 season, Holloway was reassigned in the district and former softball head coach and current football offensive coordinator Monte Barrow took over the team as interim head coach.

Barrow then led the Lady Bulldogs on a blistering finish to the season, winning eight straight games, grabbing a district title and beating Crosby in the bidistrict round of the playoffs.

This summer, Nederland hired Will Mallette away from Deweyville, where he went 92-43 in five seasons and won back-to-back district championships in 2010 and 2011.

Mallette hit the ground running this season with a young Nederland team. The Lady Bulldogs lost a huge bat in catcher Emily Nolan to graduation, but have seen younger players like junior pitcher Makayla Kelly and shortstop Savana Guidry pick up the slack.

Kelly has already hit two home runs and is batting .290 with 10 walks in 42 plate appearances this season. Guidry is hitting .367 with a home run, two triples, three doubles, six steals and a team-high 21 runs scored this season.

Kelsey Beard leads the team in batting average with a .455 batting average, a .492 on-base percentage and a .636 slugging percentage in 59 plate appearances. Beard has a team-high eight doubles and a triple. Nicole Matise has provided the pop in Nederland’s lineup with 10 extra-base hits and a team-high 18 RBIs with a .712 slugging percentage.

Kelly (7-3) has pitched the bulk of the team’s games so far, striking out 38 in 57 1/3 innings with a 2.69 ERA. Kelly also picked up the victory last Tuesday when Nederland opened district play with a 16-3 win over Vidor. The Lady Bulldogs will host Livingston at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Port Neches-Groves (10-6) also opened 20-4A play with a victory last week, beating Lumberton 5-0 on the road. The Lady Indians started out slowly this year as they recover from losing three-year starter Brittnee Moore on the mound.

However, PN-G had a great showing at the Cy-Fair tournament last weekend, winning the consolation bracket championship by beating Cy-Creek and going 4-2 on the weekend.

In Moore’s place slides Maci Dean, who has gotten the bulk of PN-G’s starts on the mound. The Lady Indians are also led by senior shortstop Ricki Gilbert, catcher Ryanne Lunceford and outfielder Taylor Thompson.

Last year, the Lady Indians were state ranked thanks to a nice preseason run. But, PN-G ran into problems in district play and fell to the No.4 seed from 20-4A. The Lady Indians did extend a playoff streak that has seen them make the postseason every year since 1997.

But, those same Lady Indians fell to Barbers Hill, who made it to the regional quarterfinals before falling to regional finalist Little Cypress-Mauriceville.

PN-G figures to be battling LC-M, Nederland and Vidor again for a playoff spot. The Lady Indians will get their first taste of that competition Tuesday when they travel to LC-M for a 7 p.m. district game.

Port Arthur Memorial head coach Leah Johnson has opened her second season at the helm and is still hoping to see some positive results. However, the Lady Titans have a titan joining the district this season.

The Deer Park softball team won the 2012 Class 5A state title and is now ranked No. 1 in the 2013 state polls. The Lady Deer joined Memorial’s District 21-5A in realignment and figure to be the favorites for the district title.

Memorial will be led by the speedy senior Crystal Sallier, along with Jhayla Seales, Aaliyah Howard, Vivianna Gonzalez and Leslie Jacquet.

The Lady Titans will play at Deer Park at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

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    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

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    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

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  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

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  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

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From the Fieldhouse blog