Port Neches-Groves at Beaumont Central
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Thomas Center
Records: PN-G (2-3, 1-1 District 20-4A); Central (1-4, 1-1)
Last year: PN-G 28-14
Series: PN-G leads 7-6
Radio: AM 1450, AM 1550, legacysportsnetwork.com and pngindians.com
PN-G capsule: The Indians are 1-1 for the first time in district under head coach Brandon Faircloth. The previous two seasons, PN-G started district play 0-2 and were 2-0 in Faircloth's first season in 2009. ... Last week's 35-6 loss to LC-M was the biggest loss for PN-G in the series since a 42-0 setback in 2006. That game also came at Bear Stadium. This year’s loss also ended a three-game winning streak for the Indians against the Bears. ... Friday's five INTs was also a first under Faircloth and was the first time the Indians have been picked off five or more times since Harrison Tatum had five INTs in that 2006 game against LC-M. ... Senior Kaleb Clark has been a special teams whiz for the Indians this year. Clark is leading 20-4A in punting with an average of 37.5 yards per punt. The speedy senior is also averaging 27.5 yards on kickoff returns this season with one score. ...
Central capsule: The Jaguars dropped their first four games of the season this year before beating Lumberton 38-9 last week. Central opened the season with a 23-20 loss to Port Arthur Memorial, followed by a 26-19 loss to West Brook, a 14-0 loss to West Orange-Stark and a 47-27 loss to Ozen. ... Quarterback Robert Mitchell has returned to form this season, after struggling through an injury-plagued 2011 campaign. Mitchell has completed 51.5 percent of his passes for 658 yards with four TDs and three INTs this season. The senior has also rushed for 177 yards with two TDs. ... Mitchell's brother, Garrison, is the Jags leading receiver with 14 catches for 162 yards. Nicalus Rhone has 13 catches for 214 yards this season. ...Central's offense is averaging just 232 yards per game this season, second-to-last in 20-4A. The Jaguars have made a big chunk of that through the air, averaging 164 yards passing per game.
Faircloth said: “They are athletic. They run around really well. They fly around to the football. They have some good skill kids, starting with the quarterback. They’ll be all we can handle. (Mitchell) is really good and has been ever since his sophomore season. He’s got a great arm. That ball comes out of his hand so pretty. He can spin that football. He makes plays happen and he extends plays. You can get to him and he’ll make you miss, extend it and find someone downfield. Every play, you just hold your breath.”
Port Neches-Groves at Beaumont Central
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BEAUMONT — It may be just the second year of the program’s revival, but the Lamar softball team has already established a tradition: Winning the home opener on a walk-off home run.
Casey Cromwell’s three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Lady Cardinals a 6-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Ford Park in the first home game of 2014 for Lamar and the Southland Conference opener for both squads.
Lamar, which won its first game last year over UTSA on a walk-off home run by Ashley McDowell, cruised to an 8-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Saturday’s nightcap.
“This is why I love playing at home,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “The fans really get us pumped up, and we respond.”
Cromwell hit two home runs in the opener for Lamar (5-9 overall, 2-0 Southland). Beverly Corry also homered for Lamar. Shannon Millman (3-5) was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cardinals in both games, working 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in the first game before firing a three-hit gem in the nightcap.
“We got tremendous pitching for both Shannon and Tina (Schulz) today,” Bruder said. “We also got some great defense, and that really helped us.”
Candyce Carter and Jenna Holland homered for Lamar in the second game. Carter had three RBIs in the game, while Holland and Julianne Viator added two RBIs apiece.
Carter closed out the game in spectacular fashion, making a diving grab in center field to turn what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Brittney Tschoepe into the final out of the game.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a single contest at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. All senior citizens 55 and older receive free admission.
“It’s always tough to sweep a team,” Bruder said. “We know Sunday’s game will be tough.”
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