The Port Arthur News
Carson Raines wanted a little more out of his pitches in Friday’s afternoon tilt with Livingston. The starting pitcher said after the game that he felt all his pitches weren’t working like they should.
Would that every pitcher could have off-days like Raines.
The senior right-hander struck out 11 Lions and twirled a two-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Livingston at Metreyeon Delahoussaye Field in Distrit 20-4A play.
Raines was throwing in brilliant pitching weather, in a big ball park with the wind blowing in from the outfield. However, the game he threw together needed none of that, as Raines got 14 ground balls to his 11 strikeouts and did not allow a fly ball in the game.
“This is always a pitcher’s park, ” Raines said. “With the wind blowing in, it gives a pitcher a lot of confidence. My defense was working behind me. We didn’t swing it like we usually do, but we got the job done.
“I tried to keep my two-seamer low. I worked low, mixed in some curve balls and worked in my slider. Ground balls over fly balls will win you a lot of games.”
His teammates allowed Raines to be aggressive early, by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first despite not collecting a hit. Leadoff man Seth Barrow took a walk to open the frame before Gabe Nevala was hit by a pitch.
After a sacrifice bunt from Aaron Sampere moved both runners up a base, Barrow scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch. Catcher Brian Feltman was at-bat at the time, picking up the RBI.
After Feltman took a walk, Jordan Wood plated Nederland’s second run with a groundout on the right side.
“That’s just how we’ve been this year,” Nederland head coach Cody Robbins said. “We’ve found ways to win. I felt like we hit the ball hard sometimes, it just didn’t carry. We were fortunate to scratch out the runs we needed and feel good about it.”
After putting three of the first four batters on because of his command, Livingston starter Andrew King was pulled in favor of lefty reliever Josh Snook.
Snook pitched well for the next 5 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, two runs and two walks while striking out one.
Nederland didn’t pick up its first hit until the bottom of the fifth. Raines led off with a fly ball to left field that was dropped by the Livingston outfielder.
Raines took second base on a wild pitch and was moved to third when Michael Shaw dropped a perfect bunt up the third base line for an infield hit. Shaw then stole second, setting up Barrow’s RBI single through the hole in the right side of the infield.
Sampere drove in Nederland’s final run with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Shaw from third.
“That’s the sign of a good baseball team,” Robbins said. “To have no hits and get two runs is big. Michael Shaw had a big bunt and Seth had a good hit. We’ve been really good at situational hitting and two-out RBIs. We’ve hit the ball into the gaps in some parks, played small ball in others and done a great job of situational hitting.”
Nederland (12-2, 2-0) remains undefeated in district play, but opens a tough week of road trips by playing at Little Cypress-Mauriceville at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Livingston (8-6, 0-2) will host Beaumont Ozen on Tuesday.
Nederland 4, Livingston 1
LIV 001 000 0 — 1 2 1
NED 200 020 X — 4 2 2
Andrew King, Josh Snook (1) and Tyler Leblanc; Carson Raines and Brian Feltman. W — Raines. L — King.
Leading hitters: NED — Seth Barrow 1-1, 2 BB, run scored, SB, RBI; Jordan Wood, 0-2, SB, BB, RBI; Michael Shaw 1-1, 2 SB, run scored. LIV — Leblanc 1-2, BB; Tanner Martin 0-2, BB, RBI.
Records: Nederland (12-2, 2-0); Livingston (8-7, 1-1).
Next: Nederland at LC-M, 7 p.m. Tuesday.