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Bellow, Dogs blank Pirates

NEDERLAND — Nederland Bulldogs star pitcher Kirby Bellow tossed a complete-game no-hit shutout and struck out 13 batters in their 5-0 victory over the Vidor Pirates in a District 20-4A baseball matchup.

  Bellow pounded and pounded Vidor with his nasty slider. He fanned five of the first six batters he faced. Just three Pirates reached base. One was plunked with a fastball, the other two walked. Tyler Kennon drew his free pass in the fifth inning but Bellow picked him off with a 1-3-6 putout.

  Meanwhile, Vidor’s starting pitcher Vincent Armstrong kept Nederland hitless through the first three innings but a lead-off  error in the fourth, followed by his own fielding error and then a walk forced manager Kyle Green to bring in Trae Hester with the bases loaded and nobody out.

  Jordan Pitts smacked a 2-2 pitch from Hester over second base to claim the first hit of the game, driving in Nick Cardenas and Cody Laird in the process.  

  Then Ryan Brady plated Tyler Smith on a grounder to deep short, giving Nederland a 3-0 advantage. All three runs were earned and awarded to Armstrong, who returned to the mound to relief Hester once the Bulldogs pegged the senior southpaw for two runs in the fifth inning.

  Hester allowed five hits and two runs in two full innings of work, while Armstrong completed four innings, surrendered three runs and one hit.

  Stephen Schlett got the Dogs rolling in the fifth inning with a lead-off double. With one out, Cardenas smoked a hard  grounder through the infield to score Schlett for a 4-0 lead. Then Laird blasted a double to left center to push Cardenas home from second base.

   “This week we talked about taking the next steps for us to get better and elevate our game for the second half of district,” said Nederland manager Cody Robbins whose club improved to 13-6 overall and 5-1 in district play with the win.

   “I think we did some good things tonight. Kirby was Kirby. He was just on. He had it going on, good command of his stuff, his slider was excellent and the guys played well behind him.”

  About handling Hester, who has signed to play for Lamar, so well once he entered the fourth inning, Robbins gave all the credit to good preparation and his players ability to stay disciplined at the plate.

   “We geared up to face Hester,” said Robbins. “That’s who we prepared for. I think  that’s who the kids wanted. We left some situations get away from us in the early innings but we have very disciplined hitters. Jacob Pitts did a great job coming up with the big hit that got us going.”

   The Bulldogs will face Lumberton on Tuesday to finish out the first half of district. They are currently tied with Port Neches-Groves for first place in the league standings. PN-G beat Ozen Thursday night and will face Central on Tuesday. With the loss, Vidor falls to 4-2 in district. 

PN-G 10, Ozen 0

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians earned a routing 10-0 victory over the Ozen Panthers in a District 20-4A baseball game on Thursday night at the Reservation.

   PN-G scored three runs in the second, one in the fourth and busted loose with six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Sweetenham was the winning pitcher, improving his season record to 4-2.

  Sweetenham allowed two hits and tallied five strikeouts. He also produced two of the Indians six hits on the night. Hunter Denzlinger drove in two runs with two outs in the second inning to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead.

  With the win, PN-G’s overall record goes to 12-6 for the season and its now 5-1 in district contests. The Indians are  in a tie for first place with Nederland, which defeated Vidor 5-0 on Thursday.

   The Tribe will travel to Beaumont to square off with Central on Tuesday for their next game.