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Roaring in district opener

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Kason Nelson threw seven scoreless for the win.Kason Nelson threw seven scoreless for the win.

By Brian Besch
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Livingston Lion baseball got district started the right way, blanking the Panthers of Liberty 7-0 in a Tuesday matinee. Great pitching and production from the bottom half of the lineup were keys to the win.

Caden Vickery singled and stole a bag to get the second inning started. Karter Nelson singled and Chevy Peters drove in a run with a double. Bryce Barnes hustled down the line to beat out an infield single, loading the bags. J.T. Smith and Erik Fuentes were both hit by a pitch to drive in a run, then Copeland Bush cleared a few more off the bases with a two-run double, making it 5-0.

The Lions collected a few more in the fourth when Copeland Bush led off with an infield single. Jordan Bush then singled and drove in a run. Karter Nelson walked to load the bases and Peters delivered another run by beating out a throw at first base.

“We have gone through the meat grinder in preseason,” Livingston coach David Miller said. “These guys have been getting better and better every week, and I am proud we came out and played seven solid Innings of baseball – that is all I can ask them to do. We strung some at-bats together when we needed to, had a big inning, and Kason stepped up and pitched his tail off like he has been doing all year. I couldn’t be prouder of how these guys played and how they have been bouncing back through the adversity.”

The seven-run lead looked to be plenty, as Kason Nelson was in command on the mound. The right-hander threw a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits.

“Kason went toe to toe with China Springs, the No. 1 team in the state,” the coach said of his starter. “The next week, he shut down Bullard, who is No. 4 in the state. He threw well against Nederland this past week. He has been consistent this year, but all of our pitching has. We have a couple of things that we need to keep working on and keep getting consistent; that has been the thing we’ve really been trying to drive home. Cole Barrow is going to go on Thursday, Jordan Bush has been pitching well and Karter Nelson and Chevy Peters have been pitching well. Our arms have been getting us to this point right now.”

The obstacles of Porter, Spring Hill, Carthage, China Springs and Bullard are all ranked teams Livingston has faced over the past few weeks. The coach also mentioned Nederland, Navasota and Madisonville as significant challenges. The Lions are 5-9 overall, but the important mark after Tuesday’s game is the 1-0 they hold in district play.

“These guys have been through it and they have faced some tough competition,” Miller said. “I told them that I shouldn’t have to say anything to get them fired up. We have gone through probably one of the hardest preseasons in East Texas, as far as competition they have played. They have kept their head up and kept working and they started putting it together last weekend. It would have been very easy to go through that and just hang our heads. If we play solid baseball – and I’m not talking perfect baseball – with minimum mistakes, it will be however far they want to go. They are starting to see it. I told them that if they do that, they will go 1-0 today.” 

Livingston will travel to Liberty Thursday, then have a home-and-home with Huffman Hargrave next week. The Lions will play every Tuesday at home and every Friday away in district competition.

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