Indians’ 5A Region III final vs. Cubs set

Published 12:41 pm Monday, May 29, 2017

PORT NECHES — The senior baseball players at Port Neches-Groves are about to have the week of their lives.

It’s because graduation night is being sandwiched by two nights of playoff action at Sam Houston State University.

“It’s going to be fun. Real fun,” PNG pitcher Brandon Morse said. “Hopefully get a nice little win Wednesday, graduate Thursday, be in a better mood and come out Friday, [and] play like we do.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Yeah, the senior Indians (30-8-2) don’t want a Game 1 loss to Brenham hanging over their heads when they go across the graduation stage Friday night at the Montagne Center in Beaumont.

Game 1 of a 5A Region III final between PNG and Brenham (27-9-1, according to MaxPreps) will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, with Game 2 set for 6 p.m. Friday and Game 3, if necessary, to immediately follow. All games will be at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville.

The winner will play in next weekend’s 5A state semifinals at Dell Diamond in Round Rock against Grapevine or Colleyville Heritage. Their Region I final is set for Friday and Saturday at Dallas Baptist University.

The determination for a Wednesday-Friday series was pretty simple: PNG will hold commencement exercises Thursday and Brenham seniors will walk the stage Saturday.

But for now, the school year for both teams’ senior classes is ongoing, so to speak. And the feeling of a week like this is hard to explain, PNG utility player Trevor Martin said.

“It’s honestly a feeling you can’t put into words,” Martin said. “It’s just something that you just experience your own self. You don’t really … it’s an amazing feeling. Best feeling ever.”

Martin made the pop-up catch at shortstop to end a dramatic three-game series with Tomball on Saturday at The Ballparks in Crosby. Classmate Nathan Vidrine threw his third complete game of the postseason (second straight shutout), but freshman Carson Roccaforte gave PNG the eventual 2-0 win with a two-strike, two-out double in the top of the seventh inning.

Martin has carried a hot bat all season with a .371 average, but he started the year hitting .471 in non-league play. He went .429 in District 22-5A play.

“My whole life, I’ve been playing shortstop, usually infield and midfield area. But ever since this year, coach really likes my bat, so he’s been giving me a chance to hit,” Martin said.

PNG is looking for a stronger start to the series after dropping the last two Game 1s to Barbers Hill and Tomball, but they’ve outscored those opponents 19-1 in the other four games combined. Morse (7-2, 1.42 ERA) was tagged with the loss to Tomball on Friday, but his Game 3 shutout of Barbers Hill will be in the back of his head whenever coach Scott Carter gives him the nod against Brenham.

“We knew we had to come in and hit the ball,” Morse said, reflecting on his win over BH. “I just had to throw strikes and let my defense do work behind me. I know if I can beat Barbers Hill, we can beat anyone.”

The Indians also regained their offense in bouncing back from their last two defeats. They don’t want to fight from the brink of elimination again, however.

“If we come out hitting the ball, honestly, [Brenham is] not going to stop us,” Martin said. “I truly feel like that, like we know we can hit.”


I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


**This version CORRECTS the day of Game 1 of the regional final**

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.

email author More by I.C.