The Port Arthur News
Dillon Duplant was a star for the Nederland Bulldogs last season. The sophomore hurler joined the Bulldogs after spending his freshman season at Hardin-Jefferson and quickly grew into a rotation mainstay. However, Duplant is nowhere to be found this season.
“He’s not enrolled at Nederland and that’s all I really know about it,” head coach Cody Robbins said, following Friday’s game against Port Neches-Groves.
Robbins followed up those comments on Saturday, saying that Duplant had violated a school policy. He also confirmed that he had not received a Previous Athletic Participation Form (PAPF) required by the UIL for Duplant to participate at another UIL school.
Robbins would have to sign that form and submit it to both the new school and the UIL before Duplant could take the field with any school in the UIL. That explains why Duplant doesn’t appear on any local high school roster right now, including his former school Hardin-Jefferson.
A search of the entire state of Texas on the website MaxPreps.com, a great resource to follow high schools around the country, also didn’t turn up Duplant on any rosters.
The transfer form does not prohibit Duplant from enrolling at one of the area’s private schools, but right now he also does not appear on the roster for Legacy Christian Academy or for Beaumont Kelly.
The News contacted Duplant on Saturday about his playing status, but as of Sunday evening, he had not responded.
Game of the week
As the District 20-4A softball first half winds down, the Port Neches-Groves girls will host the second halfof a state-ranked back-to-back run, as No. 2 Vidor comes to The Reservation at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Vidor’s only loss in district play came against No. 5 Little Cypress-Mauriceville, while PN-G’s only loss came at Livingston. If PN-G can hold its home turf, the Lady Indians will have a pretty big edge heading into the second half of the district schedule.
That also puts the Lady Indians out in front for a shot at winning a third straight district title. Lots of games left to play, but Tuesday’s should be a very good start to a great stretch run.
Clarifying the infield fly rule
In the game story from Friday’s Mid-County Madness matchup, I mentioned the infield fly call that led to Nederland’s first runs. With an assist from home plate umpire Dennis Sedtal, let’s clarify what happened on the play.
Trent Fontenot hit the popup behind PN-G shortstop Daniel Sparrow. With runners on first and second, that triggered the infield fly rule and automatically meant Fontenot was out. At that point, both runners for Nederland were able to move up whether Sparrow made the catch or not.
After Sparrow dropped the ball, both runners moved up and his errant throw to third left Trey Broussard free to score from third and Jordan Wood to move up to third.
Even though the umpire closest to Sparrow may have not made the call, both the first base umpire and Sedtal himself at home plate made the call loudly enough for all the coaches to hear. After the play was over, Fontenot was still on first and had to be called back to the dugout before the next batter stepped into the box.
It didn’t look like Sparrow was trying to lull the Nederland players into an easy out by dropping the ball, because the winds above the field gave a few different players problems. In the previous half-inning, Nederland first baseman Brett Brown had a similar popup to his right. What looked to be an easy out to end the fifth turned acrobatic, as Brown had to dive backwards, catching the ball as he landed on his back.
Brett Brown is K-tastic
Speaking of Brown, it seems like Lamar may be getting an arm coming into his own. The senior has taken a shine to the strikeout this season. After striking out 16 in his first start last season against Barbers Hill in the bidistrict playoffs, Brown has 27 Ks in his last 12 2/3 innings.
That’s 12 strikeouts in a midweek start against Kelly and 15 last Wednesday against Vidor. Add in his monster home run down the line against PN-G on Friday and Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan may have gotten himself a real find.
PN-G 2-0 after 0-2 start last season
Every time Mark Brevell talks about his current team, he mentions how great their chemistry is. That’s showing up early, as the Indians have jumped out to a 2-0 start in District 20-4A play.
That’s especially impressive when you consider where PN-G was at this point last season. Brevell’s squad had to fight back from a 0-2 hole after losing its first games to Livingston and Nederland. The Indians still made the playoffs and pushed Brenham to the brink in the area round of the playoffs, but Brevell has to be happier starting without that hole to climb out of.
PN-G softball making its case
Don’t look now, but there’s another team knocking on the door in the District 20-4A softball race. After PN-G beat No. 5 Little Cypress-Mauriceville on Friday, the Lady Indians moved into a first-place tie with Vidor, LC-M and Livingston.
As I mentioned above, PN-G has a big test with Vidor on Tuesday, but even if they fall short in that game, it’s a good bet that the Lady Indians will move into the state rankings themselves. That’s quite the achievement for head coach Brook Fontenot, who lost some very good players off last year’s district champions.
Like the their boys’ counterparts, PN-G had plenty of contributors back and thus didn’t have to completely retool the lineup. The Lady Indians have also benefitted from having some continuity on the mound with senior Brittnee Moore and have gotten a big boost from third baseman Paige Schexnider moving into the lineup.
Ned girls bounce back with solid week
As bunched up as the top of 20-4A is, Nederland sits just behind the pack with a lot of momentum after a very strong week of play. The Lady Bulldogs had to play three games in four days because of rain delays and soggy field conditions, but they made the most of it.
Nederland went 3-0 against Beaumont Central, Livingston and Lumberton this week, improving to 3-2 in 20-4A play. The Lady Bulldogs also scored 18 runs in the latter two games, finding an offensive stride this week that should serve them well as they close out the first half of district play.
Next week, Nederland will host Beaumont Ozen on Tuesday and then travel to LC-M on Friday. If the Lady Bulldogs continue their winnings ways, they can easily vault from being outside the playoff chase to being tied for second place.