Holden the hero: Lane lines game-winner

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

By Michael Sudhalter

Special to The News

ROUND ROCK — Holden Lane immediately recognized the gravity of his accomplishment.

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The Port Neches-Groves junior designated hitter pumped his fist in celebration before he even reached first base on a two-RBI single that gave the Indians a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning in the UIL Class 5A semifinals at Dell Diamond.

“It hit me right when I saw the ball go through [that we would score],” Lane said. “It was one of the greatest moments.”

PNG, which defeated Frisco Wakeland 3-2, is headed to the UIL state championship game for the first time since 2000.

The Indians will have the chance to win the first baseball state championship in school history (and the first in any sport in 36 years) when they face defending 5A State Champion Grapevine or Corpus Christi Moody in the UIL 5A state championship game at noon on Saturday at Dell Diamond.

Folks in Port Neches and Groves will gather at a local restaurant to talk about Lane’s heroics in the semifinals for many years to come.

There were two outs when Lane stepped to the plate, and time was running out for PNG, then facing a 2-1 deficit.

Wakeland was just seven outs from reaching the state championship game for the first time in its 12-year school history.

Lane had other ideas, when he delivered the game winner.

“I knew [Wakeland pitcher Chandler Cooper] would throw a fastball,” Lane said. “I was ready to hit that pitch.”

The Wolverines made a change on the mound, but the score remained the same.

PNG head coach Scott Carter said Lane has been clutch all season for the team. He chatted with the Indians’ designated hitter in the dugout after his previous at-bat, which resulted in a ground out.

“He was long with the swing,” Carter said. “I told him to shorten it up, and that’s what he did. He’s a great two-strike hitter, and he’s played well for us all year. We expect him to be big for us next year, too.”

Lane, a Groves resident, is also the H-Back for the Indians’ football team that went three rounds deep in the 5A playoffs last fall. Many of his baseball teammates also play (or played) on the football team, but that is just part of their camaraderie building experience.

“We have built character each year,” Lane said. “We always have team dinners with each other — at different people’s houses or at Neches River Wheelhouse.”