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Port Neches-Groves taking on undefeated Friendswood, ready for challenge

PORT NECHES — After defeating Kempner in a 2-1 series, the Indians have their work cut out for them as they prepare for the No. 1-ranked Friendswood.

Friendswood (27-0) knocked Nederland out of the playoffs in the first round.

The Mustangs’ series against PNG starts Thursday, with Games 2 and 3 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The first two games will be played at Baytown Sterling at 7 p.m. If needed, Game 3 will be played at Baytown Lee.

PNG coach Scott Carter said making it to the third round of the playoffs is not an easy task.

“We have made it to the final eight in Region 3 in 5A,” he said. “It’s always an honor to be considered a top-10 team in the region. We definitely have some work to do.”

In the Game 3 against Kempner, Landon Guarnere earned the win on the mound and was 2-2 in the batter’s box. Dean Guidry went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Tristan Abshire hit 2-for-3.

The Indians won 4-0.

The heavy rains forced PNG into its indoor facility early this week. Carter said the coaches are monitoring the weather for the remainder of the week.

“We met (Friendswood) in the 2019 playoffs,” Carter said. “We beat them and they were a sophomore-heavy team. They have basically the same team now. We knocked them out. Our kids know who they are. Our kids know how good they are. We have a lot of the same kids on our team. Not as many, but we have some. We know who we are and we know that we are going to have to play extremely well. We look forward to the challenge.

“If this doesn’t excite you, nothing will. It is an opportunity. We would love to play next week and the week after that. We are guaranteed two this week and that is what we have in front of us right now.”

The Flip

Carter said he flipped to have a one-game series, but lost.

“I told their coach ‘Why would I try to beat you twice? Nobody has beat you once, yet,” Carter said. “I’ll take my chances on trying to do it once. I lost so we have a series. If I would’ve won, we would’ve went one.”

Carter said coaches have two ways of flipping over disagreements in playoff conditions. They could meet up at a location and flip a coin, or do what Carter called zip code flipping.

“I will call out a town and you will say ‘odd’ or ‘even’ as soon as I say it,” he said. “You can’t wait to Google it or anything.”