Leckich closes door in 9th

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

LUMBERTON — Port Neches-Groves baseball coach Scott Carter was not joking when he said there would a 15-minute delay if he had attempted to go get the ball from Ryan Leckich’s hand in the bottom of the ninth.

Leckich confirmed the statement from his coach.

“Oh absolutely,” Leckich said. “I was not going to give that ball up. There is no way.”

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There was never a reason for Carter to even worry about going to get Leckich.

The senior Baylor signee struck out two of the final three Lumberton batters Tuesday as the Indians defeated the Raiders 12-8 in nine innings.

PN-G (8-6, 2-1) and Lumberton were knotted at 8-8 after the seventh and eighth innings before the Indians struck for four runs in the top of the ninth.

Austin Bost led the ninth off with an infield single, moved to second when Leckich reached on an error, and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nathan Vidrine.

The Raiders (2-1) then chose to intentionally walk Trey Toney to load the bases before Chase Warren flew out to center and the Indians did not tag up to score.

That is when the scoring came for the Indians.

Jacob Vaughn drew a RBI walk before Lamar commit Cole Girouard came up with a two-run single to make it 11-8. Adam Morse then laced an RBI double to center to make the final score.

“It had to be a great spectator’s game,” Carter said. “It was deadly on the coaches. Both of us had chances to win the ballgame. We had a three-run lead going into the final inning and they tied it. In the extra innings it seemed like they had bases loaded in every one of them.”

PN-G took an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh. The Indians gave the Raiders the first run on an error and then Lumberton’s Stephen Yarbro tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run double with no outs.

The Indians elected to intentionally walk Raiders catcher Ryan Smith to load the bases, and the plan worked in PN-G’s favor.

PN-G eventually got Lumberton to hit into an inning-ending double play to stop the Raiders’ threat.

The Raiders loaded the bases again in the bottom of the eighth with one out. Leckich picked up a strike out and got Yarbro to ground back to the mound for the final out.

Carter said it was never in question if Leckich would come in to pitch late in the game with Thursday’s game against Nederland looming for PN-G.

“He’s still got the ball Thursday,” Carter said. “I am not worried about Ryan. His pitch count was low. I couldn’t have taken the ball away from him in the ninth if I wanted to.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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