Ad Spot

No. 1-ranked Friendswood not overlooking Bulldogs

Earning the final playoff spot in a district in any sport insures that the team will play against the best team from another district. For the Nederland Bulldogs baseball team, earning the fourth seed landed them a matchup with the No. 1 team in the state.

Friendswood ended the season 24-0 on the season and are the favorites to win the state title. That doesn’t mean they are overlooking Nederland.

“They are well coached and a good program,” Friendswood head coach Cory Benavides said. “I have been telling our kids since the last district game that it doesn’t matter who we play. This is the playoffs. It is a brand new season. We are not thinking about anything else, but Nederland. They have kids that fight and are hard nosed.”

Friendswood outscored opponents 181-37 on the year.

“I have been blessed to have a great group of kids,” Benavides said. “They know the expectations every day. They show up in the weight room and school. They show up to practice and do what needs to be done. Since the fall, I have been preaching about doing the little things…They have bought in since Day 1. I think it helps that we lost the season last year. Our seniors from last year have been on our mind this entire year.”

Benavides said he knew his team had a chance to be special during the shortened season last year.

“We were on a roll before it shut down,” he said. “We have a bunch of the same guys. I knew we were talented. Talent is only going to get you so far. They know that every single little thing that we hyper focused on during practice is going to get us over the hump. Teams are going to play us tough. There is stuff in baseball that just happens. The ball isn’t going to bounce our way every time. It is how you fight through that.”

Friendswood shortstop Izaak Pacheco is a highly sought after prospect. He committed to play college ball for Texas A&M next year, but he is also projected to be a high pick in the MLB draft.

“Everybody knows the talent is there,” Benavides said. “That is why he is in the position he is in. It is the extra stuff. He is the hardest worker in the room. He doesn’t let up and brings the energy every day. He expects so much out of everybody else. He brings everyone else up. That is huge. When your leaders are doing that, that is what breads success.”

Pacheco and centerfielder Kevin Newkirk are the team’s two senior captains.

“Those are the two guys that put the weight on their shoulders. They have been here and they have done it before. They really don’t let the young guys get away with anything. That is a big help for me, because I can’t do it by myself.”

Game 1 will be at Nederland at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Game 2 will be Saturday at Friendswood followed by Game 3 if necessary.

Local

Port Neches mayor sounds off on refinery’s noise study; plays troubling recording

Business

ON THE MENU — Cindy & Herb Kreutzer welcome many at Sundara Coffee House

Local

Hanging death linked to suicide, police say

Columns

STEPHEN HEMELT — New fast food development working to make Nederland appearance

High School Sports

Bulldog Stadium upgrades enter Phase 2; see the plan for this summer & beyond

Local

PHOTO FEATURE — Model trains run through Port Arthur library

Local

PA man indicted for DWI with 2 young children in vehicle

Local

Nederland candidates talk drainage concerns, solutions

Local

Vote on condemned houses gets flipped

Local

Fight between 65-, 66-year olds ends in arrest

Local

RELIGION BRIEFS — Drive-thru food pantry will be open to all

High School Sports

Memorial believes offense will keep up standard in fall

Local

Nederland temporarily closes public pool due to fecal matter

Local

Area barndominium robbed of firearms, trailer & ATV. Do you know the suspects?

Lifestyle

Video, pictures & speeches from an emotional Port Arthur Juneteenth celebration

Local

10 AM FRIDAY UPDATE: Potential tropical storm path taking it farther east

Check this Out

Check out details of Nederland’s $1.3M street improvement plan, including major roads

News Main

Local leaders, Port Arthur alumni to host softball tourney to celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday

Entertainment

PHOTO GALLERY — Mischief managed at local Wizard Camp; sign-up for next week’s fun

Local

Port Arthur Police find man hanging from tree; investigating possible suicide

Groves

PHOTO FEATURE — Groves swears in new police officer

Local

PHOTO — Workforce Solutions is ready to help put YOU to work

Local

COMMUNITY BRIEFS: Model trains displayed at Port Arthur Library; blood drive nears

Columns

MONIQUE BATSON — Community theater is back, and you should be taking advantage