SOFTBALL: Indians’ Hunt 1-hits Raiders in senior night game

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

PORT NECHES — As the Port Neches-Groves dugout players continued to cheer loudly and their teammates on the field were cranking up the offense, fifth-year head coach Jessica Lemoine pleaded for more from her team.

“Our overall mood is too passive for me,” she told the dugout during a three-run second inning. “We need to be more aggressive.”

Said senior Britni Hunt: “That is every game. She holds us to a high standard, and she expects us to perform, no matter what we do.”

Maylin Louvier of PNG raches third base on a passed ball in the second inning against Lumberton on Tuesday in Port Neches. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

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Well, PNG only finished with 11 hits and Hunt threw a one-hit gem in the Indians’ 12-0, five-inning victory over Lumberton on Tuesday. It’s the third shutout in a row and 11th of the season for the Indians (16-10-1, 11-1 in 22-5A), who were a game behind Livingston in district standings going into the game.

“We try to stay true to our standard,” Lemoine said. “That would be being 100 percent full-speed all the time. That would be borderline aggressive. We don’t ever want to play just to the scoreboard. We want to play us, regardless of who’s in the other dugout across the field. So, I felt we could have had a little bit more intensity. But overall, we put it together and had a great senior night for those kids.”

Senior night at PNG ended just as dusk arrived, as only the varsity teams played. The class of Kaitlyn Boudreaux, Rachel Hammersmith, Callie Jourdan, Brooke Smith and Hunt got to leave their handprints in the field’s equipment room following the game, an annual senior tradition.

“They leave their mark so it lasts forever, and they’re always a part of what we have going on in the sisterhood,” Lemoine said.

Hunt, who’ll play next season at Angelo State, struck out eight of the 16 batters she faced, giving up her lone hit with two out in the fourth inning. She struck out 11 in a 6-0 win at Nederland a week earlier.

“It means a lot playing at home,” Hunt said, still overcome with emotion following a postgame ceremony honoring her and her classmates. “I just try to get out there and do my best.”

Smith went 3 for 3 with a double, Bayja Newby was 2 for 3 with a two-run home run and three runs scored, Maylin Louvier batted 2 for 2 with a double, and Hammersmith was 2 for 4 (both doubles) and drove in three runs for PNG. Boudreaux also batted in two runs. Kasidee Sartin and Hannah Denman each had a single, and Newby and Jordan each had a stolen base.

Those statistics are emblematic of the Indians’ aggressive style.

“We’re fortunate enough to have a bunch of rabbits right now to where we can take chances on the bases.” Lemoine said. “I would much rather be overly aggressive than under-aggressive.”

Lumberton (5-14, 5-7 in 22-5A) was vying to stay in contention for the fourth and final playoff spot from the district.

PNG has a game at Beaumont Central on Friday before a Tuesday trip to district-leading Livingston that could decide the champion. Livingston handed PNG its most recent defeat, 4-2, on March 23, and the Indians have won five in a row since.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Hunt said. “It’s been great. It’s been a good season so far.”

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

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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