BASEBALL: Santa Fe pitcher, wounded in school shooting, recently won game over PNG

Published 12:39 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

It was just a week ago the Port Neches-Groves Indians shared the same baseball field with the Santa Fe Indians.

Santa Fe won the 5A area round series in three games, all at The Ballparks in Crosby, and are now down 1-0 to Kingwood Park in the best-of-three 5A Region III quarterfinal.

Game 2, which was scheduled for Friday night at Deer Park High School, was postponed until 7 tonight. The postponement came in the wake of a shooting that killed 10 persons and injured 10 more at Santa Fe High School.

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One of the injured students is Rome Shubert, a sophomore pitcher who earned the Game 1 win over PNG on May 10. He tweeted that he was hit in the back of the head but is OK and stable.

Shubert has been released from the hospital, KRIV-TV of Houston reported.

Shubert threw six innings in Game 1 against Kingwood Park, allowing no earned runs and striking out 11, according to the Galveston County Daily News. He is orally committed to playing at the University of Houston, which expressed condolences to those affected by the tragedy on Twitter.

The Daily News reported at 11:20 a.m. Friday that Galveston County Judge Mark Henry confirmed eight students and a teacher died in the shooting. The identity of the 10th fatality was not immediately reported.

Two people, a suspect the local sheriff’s office identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, and another person of interest, are in custody, according to the newspaper.

ABC News reported authorities warned that explosive devices have been found at the school and in surrounding areas.

“It’s just a shock,” PNG baseball coach Scott Carter said. “Your prayers just go out to everybody over there. … I don’t know what’s going on, but you just send your prayers to coach [Ronnie] Wulf and all the people at Santa Fe. It’s going to be tough to get through it.

“It’s a bad situation.”

PNG pitcher Josh Hranicky, who started against Shubert, offered prayers as well to the families and friends affected by the shooting on behalf of the team.

“We cannot imagine what you all are going through and we will continue to send prayers y’alls way,” he tweeted.

Both Nederland coach Bryan Spell and Carter said they texted Wulf, a former West Orange-Stark head coach, and sent their prayers. Carter added he asked Wulf to let him know if he and the team needed anything.

“Quality baseball team, well-coached,” Spell said. “Great team. I know a lot of our players already mentioned our thoughts and prayers with them and their whole school.”

Nederland defeated host Santa Fe 6-1 on Feb. 23 in an early-season tournament.

Santa Fe eliminated PNG for the second time in three years in the 5A baseball playoffs, but it will not be the last time both Indian teams will encounter each other in sports. The UIL in February placed Santa Fe, PNG and Nederland in District 12-5A Division II for football this coming August, along with Barbers Hill, Baytown Lee, Crosby, Dayton and Vidor.

Santa Fe will not be in the same district with the Jefferson County schools for baseball in 2019. District 22-5A, the current district for Port Arthur Memorial, Nederland and PNG, has been realigned to include Crosby, Goose Creek Memorial, Friendswood, Galena Park, Galveston Ball, Lee, Santa Fe and Texas City. District 21-5A will include Barbers Hill, Cleveland, Dayton, PA Memorial, Nederland, PNG and Vidor.

Nederland and Barbers Hill will play Game 2 of their 5A Region III baseball quarterfinal at 5 p.m. Saturday at the University of Houston. Barbers Hill leads that best-of-three series 1-0. Nederland will force Game 3 at 7:30 with a win.

If Nederland and Santa Fe were to win this round and the regional semifinals, they would meet for a spot in the state semifinals in Round Rock in June.

“Our whole school community is thinking about those people [in Santa Fe] right now,” Spell said.

Also Friday, the Houston Astros said in a statement on the Santa Fe shooting it would hold a moment of silence prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians and that the Texas flags at Minute Maid Park would fly in half-staff “in support and memory of the victims and their families.”

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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