Nederland looks for Mid County Madness sweep; Port Neches-Groves hopes to even score

Published 12:10 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Nederland Bulldogs struck first in the Mid County Madness rivalry against Port Neches-Groves this week with a 10-0 win over the Indians Tuesday.

The Indians will try to even up the score Friday when the two teams meet at PNG for the second half of the series.

Nederland Head Coach Brian Spell said pitching is key.

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“They have thrown extremely well so far,” he said. “Our downfall has been playing behind them. Our pitching staff definitely gives us a chance to win and that is where it starts for us.”

PNG Head Coach Scott Carter said Nederland pitcher Brady Corcoran played lights out in Tuesday’s shutout.

“There wasn’t a whole lot that went right for us,” Carter said of the first matchup. “We had base-running mistakes. We had fielding mistakes. Corcoran did a great job and kept us off balance. We only had four hits. That is what went wrong.”

Carter said the rivalry adds a little extra tension to the contest, but both coaches said getting district wins is more important.

“I think it is important to get off on a good foot when district starts,” Spell said. “That has been our main focus. We have been playing a little bit better. Hopefully we can continue to play a little bit more consistently and give ourselves a chance to win. Regardless if it is Port Neches, the start of district makes it a big week.”

A few years back, the district changed the format to allow teams to play each other twice in the same week as opposed to playing each team once before repeating.

“We get to play them again on Friday,” Carter said he told his team. “This is one of those games where you have to have a short memory. Flush it and move on. We have to do it again on Friday.”

The PNG coach wants to see his team improve.

“It is not going to be the end of the season if we don’t,” Carter said. “We need to come back and try to get a win. There is no doubt we want to come out and win at home. We 10-run ruled Nederland at home last year to start district and then they turned around and beat us.”

Spell said his team has done well to keep its focus as many of their friends leave the area for spring break.

“It has been a different routine for them, but it hasn’t been an issue in the past,” he said. “Most of these kids play in the summertime when they are not in school. Hopefully, it doesn’t affect us too much.”

First pitch for Friday’s contest is set for 6:30 p.m. at PNG.