Mindset of perfection: Petix proves reliable on Indians’ staff

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2017

PORT NECHES — The excitement in Brandon Petix’s voice was unmistakable, a bit of gleam shining in his eyes on a cloudy day before practice.

He knows Port Neches-Groves is just one step away from going to Round Rock, and the Indians haven’t been to the state semifinals in 13 years.

“I’m ecstatic, actually. I’m pleased,” the left-handed relief pitcher said. “We have the right chemistry. We’re doing great. Everything’s going our way. We’re just cruising along. We’ve just got to get these next two wins and go to state.”

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Petix (5-2, 2.32 ERA) could be just as excited about the way he’s kept opposing batters in check during a postseason that’s not reached its fifth round. Teams have not scored on him in six of his last seven appearances (including his last four), and he’s had two games of two-plus innings of hitless ball.

Tomball did not push a run across Petix in last week’s 5A Region III semifinal. He struck out two and allowed two hits in a Game 1 loss after the Cougars scored all six runs in the first 1 1/3 innings, and he kept them off the scoreboard the final 1½ of a Game 2 win, giving up one hit and walking none.

Barbers Hill did not hit off Petix in 2 2/3 innings on May 18.

“It’s just the type of mindset,” he said. “You have to go in there and kind of just have a [tough] mentality that you’re going to shut them down. That’s what I do. Every single time I go in there, I have the right mindset. That’s what gets the job done.”



Never did Petix lock down the opposition tougher than on March 17 in a five-inning win over Ozen. He tossed a perfect game and struck out 10 while still owning a 1.19 ERA through four games.

And, yes, that shining gem serves as his motivation.

“I use it to just get me riled up, just a center for going forward,” Petix said.

A week earlier, he rang up 15 strikeouts and held Lufkin to three hits in a complete-game win.

PNG coach Scott Carter, who took Sweeny to a state semifinal in 2012, said Petix has “owned” his role as a reliever after making seven starts this year.

“He just kind of fell into a role where you only use one starter a game, and we’ve got three games,” Carter said. “He knows he’s the fourth guy. He’s going to come in and do his job as a reliever. He just knows he’s got to throw strikes, and if he throws strikes — he throws the ball well, he hides it well and he does some good things — I don’t know what he’s picked up from [the playoff starters], but he’s done well all year.”



At 6-feet-6, Petix makes a big presence on the Indians mound, and the height helps the basketball center a lot.

“It helps movement of the pitching,” he said. “My ball moves a lot. [I probably have] the most movement in the league [District 22-5A]; that’s what my coach said. Even the other players are like, ‘Wow, he moves a lot.’”

For example …

“My fastball normally cuts to the left. The way I throw my fastball is that it goes straight, and it really moves a lot. Velocity kind of helps a little bit, too.”

But save a five-hit, two-run showing in a May 6 win over Humble, no one’s been able to plate a run against Petix. Playing behind the likes of Josh Hranicky, Nathan Vidrine and Brandon Morse has been no problem for him for the man who envisions — and has experienced — perfection.

“I learned from those three guys that throwing strikes and getting out of innings, things like that, those win ballgames,” Petix said. “Winning the pitcher counts also wins ballgames. Throwing more strikes wins more ballgames, that’s what I learned the most.”



Brenham has been to the state rounds 16 times, but not since 2011, according to UIL records. The Cubs won seven championships, last in 2010.

The Cubs (27-9-1, according to MaxPreps) finished atop District 20-5A with a 12-2 record and are coming off a three-game series victory over Crosby, whose new ballpark became PNG’s home away from home during the playoffs.

Now the Indians and Cubs will try to settle the issue at Sam Houston State University, 69 miles northeast of Brenham and 135 miles northwest of Port Neches.

Carter said the emotions among the Indians have been lighter, especially after coming back from Game 1 defeats in the past two series to advance.

“Right now, it’s just relax, let them enjoy the weekend and come back today and have some fun, throw the ball around a little bit,” Carter said Monday. “There’s not a whole lot we can do over the next two days. … We’ve just got to prepare and go through some things, but as far as skill level and playing, we’re as ready as we can be.”

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

**UPDATES number of times Brenham went to state and won the championship. A list of UIL records accessed is believed to not be updated past 2007.**

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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