Port Neches-Groves, Nederland enter season’s final week in battle for 4th seed, playoff berth

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Entering the final week of the season, the Port Neches-Groves and Nederland baseball teams are battling for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 21-5A.

Both teams entered the final week of district play tied for fourth with games on Tuesday and Friday.

Both teams are playing against teams ranked higher in the district. PNG plays Galena Park, while the Bulldogs take on Barbers Hill.

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PNG Coach Scott Carter said regardless how the week ends, he is proud of his team.

“I’d love to get a sweep and put us into a great situation,” he said. “I just want us to come out and play good baseball. That is the main thing. We just want to play good baseball and see what happens. We are excited to get a chance and be in the hunt here at the end.”

PNG Head Coach Scott Carter talks to his team during practice. (Chris Moore/The News)

Carter said the last week will be an invaluable experience for his young squad.

“Whether we get in or don’t, the experience is going to be great,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we want to get in… The guys have done a great job this year of growing up and becoming a team. They have great chemistry and these are things that make good baseball teams. We played a gauntlet schedule with some young guys who were stepping into a varsity situation for the first time.”

Nederland Head Coach Bryan Spell said his team is taking it one game at a time.

“We have to win,” he said. “We have to find a way to win. Hopefully we can find a way to win. We are in win-now mode. That is for sure.”

Much like PNG, Nederland is also fielding a young team that has faced its share of ups and downs.

“A lot of our veteran players have played really consistent for us,” Spell said. “We are hoping to get another consistent outing from Brady (Corcoran). He always gives us a chance to win. Hopefully we can make the plays behind him and score enough runs to come out on top.”

If both teams end the week with the same record, the two will meet for a third time for a play-in game. However, both coaches said their teams are doing everything they can to avoid it.

“We are aware of it,” Spell said of the potential for a play-in game against PNG. “We feel like if we don’t win one of these next two, our chances of playing in a play-in game are not very good. We feel like we need to win one of these to have a chance at the playoffs. If we don’t take care of our business, we might find ourselves on the outside looking in.”