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PNG coach, players holding heads high after season ends

Port Neches-Groves baseball players are keeping their heads high after the season ended over the weekend.

Catcher Ryan Sosa said he would remember the most how the team overcame adversity and bonded.

“We started off slow, mainly because we had such a young team,” he said. “Once everyone got in sync, we started to improve and play how we knew we could.”

The Indians wrapped up their season with a Round 3 loss to the No. 1 team in the nation. PNG fell 15-7 to Friendswood in Baytown Friday. The team was the first to score runs on the Mustangs all postseason.

“I really think the area we most improved on throughout the season was the pitching department,” coach Scott Carter said. “Our pitching staff got better every ballgame. Early on in the season, we were walking a lot of people. As the year went on, we cut our walks out and were throwing to weak contact. We had a really good defense all season.”

The team featured 12 seniors, all of whom contributed, Carter said.

“It was an outstanding group,” he said. “You start with kids that have been three-year starters like (Blake) Bost and Dean Guidry and Ryan Sosa. Our senior class was outstanding. We had guys that stepped up. We had Christian Sullivan playing right field and hitting really well. He had a lot of timely hits. They believed in each other.”

Carter said the seniors who did not start regularly were a large part of the program’s leadership.

“I give a lot of credit to Brody Bailey, Reid Landry and Adrian Abshere,” Carter said. “They were great guys on the bench. They did what they were supposed to do. When they were called on, they played. When they weren’t, they were great teammates. They were focused and outstanding. That was a huge backbone for our team. It is easy to be excited when you are a starter. It’s not easy to be a fill-in guy and be excited and that is where we excelled.”

The Indians started the season rough by not winning a single game in the La Porte tournament. PNG finished as district champs, making Carter the first baseball coach in school history to win four titles.

Sosa said he will mostly remember the team’s win over rival Nederland, which led to the players jumping in the canal and dying their heads bleach blonde for the playoff run.