, Port Arthur, Texas

June 7, 2014

Local trio excited for baseball All-Star games

Gabriel Pruett
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — High school baseball still has another round of action in Southeast Texas.

The Texas Association of Sports Officials Beaumont Chapter will host four games at Lamar University starting at 5 p.m. Monday, with players from area 3A, 4A and 5A high schools. Underclassmen from A and 2A play at 7 p.m. Monday. Games pick back up at 5 p.m. Tuesday as 3A, 4A and 5A seniors take the field and then graduating players from A and 2A square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

These games are interesting for fans and players because they each pit high school teammates against one another and also make teammates out of usual rivals.

“I grew up with a lot of PN-G friends,” Nederland shortstop Braden Nevala said. “(PN-G senior) Logan Ashworth and I go way back. It will be an awesome experience to play with those guys and to also play against some of my best friends who I am used to practicing with at Nederland.”

Nevala will be in the 5 p.m. Monday game and is scheduled to face teammates Colton Broussard, Zach Friesz and Brett Smith.

“It will be great to either get a hit off a teammate or throw one of those guys,” Nevala said.

Memorial senior Robert Howard never really gets the chance to play with or against most of the players selected since his Titans are one of only two area teams in 5A. He is excited to see some of the talent up close.

“It is a great honor to be selected to play in this game,” Howard said. “Not everyone has this opportunity handed to them so to get this chance is huge. There is a lot of baseball talent in the area and it will be a great time. I have never met some of these guys so I am looking forward to that.”

Howard, who has committed to play at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., will be in the 5 p.m. Tuesday game and share the field with teammate Gama Martinez. This time though, Gama is on the opposing team.

“The thing I am looking forward to the most is facing off against the talent put together on these teams,” Howard said. “I am thankful to be a part of this.”

PN-G’s Carter Henry also has the chance to face off against teammates and will for the first time in his career be pulling for several Bulldogs to succeed for his benefit.

“It is a very weird feeling playing with our rivals,” Henry noted. “It is a great honor to play and I’m proud to support Port Neches in playing in this year’s all-star game. I am eager to face the best pitching in the area.”

Henry said he is not concerned with facing his Bulldogs teammates because he is only focused one aspect of the game.

“I just want to win,” Henry said.

Nevala knows the games next week will be the opportunity of a lifetime.

“We are going to be able to make some great memories on the baseball field,” Nevala said. “I look forward to the competition and playing with my buddies.”