BASEBALL: Barry’s remnants no match for Mid-County

Published 12:16 am Tuesday, July 16, 2019

PORT NECHES — Peyton Miller bookended Mid-County’s championship run in the Babe Ruth 16- to 18-year-old Southwest Regional with pitching victories, even if it meant playing in two different locations in the same game.

“I had a few rough innings, but that’s all right,” the recent Kelly Catholic graduate said. “It comes together in the end.”

That it did.

After a 2-hour, 14-minute break in the action to change fields from soggy Metreyeon-Delahoussaye Field at Nederland High School to the artificial turf at Port Neches-Groves High School, not even heavy (on- and off-again) rainfall from the edges of Tropical Storm Barry could chase Miller off the mound.

He worked six innings and held Del Rio to a run on four hits in a 7-1 victory, sending the Nederland-based team to its second Babe Ruth World Series in three years.

Before rain delays Sunday’s Southwest Regional championship in Nederland, Mid-County right fielder Rene Cunningham gives manager Ben Rogers a fist bump. The game moved to Port Neches in the third inning. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Mid-County will begin its World Series run Aug. 2 and compete in pool play through Aug. 6. Bracket play is Aug. 7-9. The University of Mobile (Alabama) is the host site for the tournament.

Miller did not get to compete last year, when Mobile’s Alabama Rawdogs beat Mid-County in the Southwest Regional final and went on to win the World Series.

Why didn’t Miller play last year? “I was on a cruise,” he said.

Mid-County (9-0) cruised to a 14-0 win against Ascension Parish, Louisiana, the last time Miller hurled before Sunday, but not every game has been a cake walk. The hosts pulled away late against Petal, Mississippi, later that Friday and was held to a single hit in defeating Northwest Arkansas the next day.

Mid-County led Del Rio 6-0 through four innings, scratching three in the fourth. The black and white finished the game with five hits.

Yet, leadoff man Landon Hiltz hopes his team will work more on offense between now and the trip to the Alabama coast.

“We’ve got to work on hitting the ball better,” said the new Nederland graduate, who drew eight walks in the tournament.

Manager Ben Rogers said he couldn’t be happier with his pitching staff, including Noah Gregory (13 strikeouts against Northwest Arkansas) and Grant Rogers (seven strikeouts in six innings against Petal).

“It’s really hard to keep everybody in a ballgame when you’ve got a rainout over there and you’ve got to move, and then you’re delayed because it rained here,” Rorgers said. “Everybody did a good job. They knew their roles, and everybody came to play.”

The change in venue — which came only after a 21-minute delay interrupted the start of the third inning in Nederland — was reminiscent of PNG’s scramble to find a field that could withstand storms during a 2016 playoff series.

BABE RUTH 16-18
WORLD SERIES
At Jacobs Field, University of Mobile (Alabama)
Mid-County schedule

Aug. 2 vs. Middle Atlantic, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 3 vs. Pacific Northwest, 10 a.m.
Aug. 5 vs. Ohio Valley, 10 a.m.
Aug. 6 vs. Pacific Southwest, 10 a.m.
Aug. 7-9, tournament play

 

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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