Blue Wahoos Hold Off Lookouts To Provide Chance At First Half Division Crown

June 23, 2024

written by Bill Vilona

The Blue Wahoos will now play the final game of their first half schedule on Sunday with another playoff berth at stake.

They can thank Diego Infante’s slide and Jakob Marsee’s triple for helping make it happen.

Infante avoided being tagged on an sixth-inning steal attempt, then scored on a Marsee triple in Pensacola’s 5-4 victory Saturday night on a Copa initiative game against the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Taking on their alternate identity Saturday as the Pensacola Pok Ta Pok, honoring the first ballgame of the Americas centuries ago as part of the Minor League Baseball Copa de la Diversión series, the Blue Wahoos got the win and got some help to make Sunday a dramatic finale to the first half schedule.

That’s because the Birmingham Barons knocked off the Montgomery Biscuits 4-1 in 10 innings, enabling the Blue Wahoos to move to within a half-game of the Biscuits in the league’s South Division.

The Biscuits at home have a half-hour head start Sunday before Pensacola’s 4:05 p.m. weekend finale against Chattanooga.

Half of the Southern League will end the first half in playoff contention Sunday. The Tennessee Smokies had a walk-off win Saturday against the Mississippi Braves to pull within a half-game of Birmingham, so it’s the same scenario in the North Division.

After the Lookouts (19-49), who wore their own Copa de la Diversión uniforms, rallied in the middle innings from a 4-0 deficit to tie Saturday’s game, the Blue Wahoos (38-28) answered with a decisive run.

Infante led off the sixth inning by reaching base on a wild pitch from a swinging strikeout. With two out and Marsee at the plate, Infante took off on a steal attempt. The throw beat him to the bag, but his deft move on the slide avoided the tag and he was ruled safe.

Two pitches later, Marsee connected to send a ball into the left-center gap, easily scoring Infante for the go-ahead run on an eventual triple.

That became the game-winning run.

Relievers Anderson Pilar (4th hold), Matt Pushard (7th hold) and closer Austin Roberts with his league-best 11th save, combined to shut down the Barons lineup to seal the win. The trio allowed just two hits, one walk and five strikeouts.

Roberts struck out the side in the ninth and reacted with natural emotion as the Blue Wahoos knew they will now play a potential decisive game Sunday to determine the South Division first half winner. The Blue Wahoos have won the first half the past two seasons and reached the league championship series both times – winning the title in 2022.

Blue Wahoos starter Luis Palacios, who struggled in both starts last year against Chattanooga, allowing eight earned runs in 11 innings, fared much better Saturday.

He carried a shutout into the fifth when the Lookouts scored two runs off fielding errors. But Palacios made a big pitch to end a bases-loaded situation in that inning.

In the top of the sixth, Austin Hendrick tied the game with a one out homer run that just cleared a leaping attempt by Infante in right field.

Seven different Blue Wahoos players each had one hit.


WHO: Chattanooga Lookouts vs. Blue Wahoos

WHEN: Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium


Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.