Fans watch Indians grow up

Published 9:34 pm Friday, June 9, 2017

By Michael Sudhalter

Special to The News

ROUND ROCK — Lifelong Port Neches-Groves super fans Wally Nicotre and Shane Trahan have seen many great Indians baseball teams over the years.

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“We always have talented teams, but this team -— from top to bottom — is a cohesive unit,” said Trahan, a 1992 PNG graduate said.

Nicotre, his father-in-law and 1969 PNG alum, added “they play really well together. We have followed them throughout their careers, and during Babe Ruth League.”

Nicotre and Shahan were just two of the sea of purple and white-clad fans that made the 250-mile trip to central Texas for the Class 5A state tournament at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

A good number of the 2,282 fans at PNG’s semifinal win over Frisco Wakeland were from Port Neches and Groves. And that was played at 4 p.m. on a Thursday.

“We could play horseshoes, and we’d have a big crowd,” said Trahan, who along with Nicotre attended the two previous state tournaments that the Indians qualified for — finishing second in 2000 and as a semifinalist in 2004.

Tournament officials are expecting a mass of PNG fans to attend Saturday’s 5A state championship game vs. defending champion Grapevine.

“The last one out of Port Neches-Groves has to turn out the lights,” said Tonya Petix, a PNG graduate and proud mother of Indians pitcher Brandon Petix.

It seems like everyone in purple and white has a story about their beloved Indians baseball team.



Mike Doyle, a retired Port Arthur ISD educator and coach, helped coach the current group of seniors in flag football.

“We knew back then that they were a bunch of good athletes,” Doyle said. “They all turned out to be really good kids.”

Doyle, who played sports at Thomas Jefferson in the late 1950s and early 1960s alongside Jimmy Johnson, said the PNG baseball/football seniors’ toughness reminds him of the two-time Super Bowl champion coach.

“These kids are tough, smart, good athletes,” Doyle said.



Bryan Bost, a 1990 PNG graduate and father of junior third baseman Austin Bost, is proud to see his son’s team accomplishing so much.

“It means more watching him do things that I never got to do,” said Bost, who was an outfielder at PNG and Lamar.

Throughout the week, the elder Bost — who works at a local refinery and runs a baseball training facility — said he received text messages and e-mails of encouragement from his former PNG teammates.

Before the semifinal, Bost told his son “to play your game, don’t get nervous and just enjoy the moment.”

Austin Bost took the advice to heart, as he delivered the Indians’ first RBI — a single in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.



Bridget Carter, wife of PNG head coach Scott Carter, summed up watching a state tournament in two words — “Nerve. Wracking.”

“You want them to win so bad,” Mrs. Carter said.

Coach Carter has won more than 500 career games, including Louisiana state championships in 1992 and 1993, respectively.

He was hired at PNG in the summer of 2013, and his first season was the current seniors’ freshman year.

Mrs. Carter said she and her husband didn’t know much about PNG when they moved from Sweeny in Brazoria County, south of Houston. They just wanted to be close to their daughter, Candyce, who was playing softball at Lamar (and is now a volunteer softball coach at McNeese State).

“PNG kids are awesome,” Mrs. Carter said. “Their fans are a class act, and it’s a great place to be.”