Graduation Held For Sheriff’s ‘Blazer Academy’

June 9, 2023

Several young men have completed the 2023 Escambia County Sheriff’s “Blazer Academy”.

They spent six weeks developing lifelong skills. The goal of the program was to immerse young men in an environment that provides mentoring and instruction on many topics such as courtesy, responsibility, empowerment and respect. And there were some pretty sharp blazers involved.

They learned how to do a proper handshake, how to put on a tie, how to present themselves and much more.

They celebrated their successes as Sheriff Chip W. Simmons presented them with their completion certificates at a graduation ceremony held at the Saenger Theatre. After the ceremony, the graduates had a celebratory dinner at Global Grill, where they made a toast to completing the academy and their futures.

Conine Homers Twice, Sets RBI Record In Wahoos 9-6 Win

June 9, 2023

Griffin Conine learned the night earlier that he was going to be moved up to second in the Blue Wahoos batting order.

“Pretty shocked. I was nervous to be honest,” he said. “I haven’t hit in the first inning all year. You have to be ready right away.”

He was ready, all right, producing in a big way to forever remember in Pensacola’s 9-6 slugfest win against the Montgomery Biscuits on Mullet Thursday at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Conine, the franchise home run leader, blasted a pair of two-run homers, including the first pitch he saw in the first inning, then drew a bases-loaded walk for a fifth RBI that made him the team’s all-time leader in runs batted in. He passed Travis Mattair in that category with 128 in his three seasons in Pensacola.

“I think you want to be a clutch player and drive in runs,” said Conine, who reached base four times and scored three runs. “That’s what it’s all about. There are a lot of different things to measure a good hitter and RBI isn’t really one of them, but that’s what it’s all about so definitely a good one to have.”

Amid a crowd of 4,321, the team took on its Thursday alternate identity as the Pensacola Mullets and used a big start to take a second win in the series.

Conine’s two-run homer in the first inning came on a first-pitch fastball, exited at 114 mph and traveled 447 feet over the right-center berm.

“I was looking to pull something. I wanted to get in the (batters) box and be ready to go right away,” Conine said. “Can’t let one go by.”

The Blue Wahoos then scored three runs in the third inning on a RBI double from Norel González, run-scoring single by José Devers and Cody Morissette’s sacrifice fly.

Conine followed in the fourth inning with an opposite-field homer to left to provide a 7-3 lead. In the eighth inning, Conine drew a bases-loaded walk for his fifth RBI, further padding the Blue Wahoos’ lead.

The Biscuits hit three homers, all solo shots in the game, including one in the ninth.

The Blue Wahoos had their top reliever, Sean Reynolds, and top hitter, Dane Myers, elevated Thursday to Triple-A Jacksonville.

Conine and teammates carried the night. It was his first multi-homer game of the season, fifth in his Blue Wahoos career, and gave him four homers in the past week.

“Our offense is really tough to face, top to bottom,” he said.

Blue Wahoos starter M.D. Johnson matched his longest start of the season. He worked six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

He worked out of trouble in the second inning after a solo homer from Logan Driscoll, then a pair of two out singles with two outs. In the fifth inning, he stranded two runners with one out, then had a clean sixth inning.

The series now shifts to the weekend where the Blue Wahoos will have their top pitcher, Patrick Monteverde (6-1, 2.16 ERA), on Friday night against the Biscuits’ Victor Munoz (4-3, 6.68).

by Bill Vilona, photo Nino Mendez / Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Canceled: Purple Alert Issued For Escambia County Woman

June 8, 2023

According to FDLE, this Purple Alert has been canceled.

A statewide Purple Alert has been issued  for an Escambia County woman last seen on Monday.

Jennifer Leigh Legan, 59, was last seen in the 8300 block on North Davis Highway, in the area of HCA Florida West Hospital, wearing black sweatpants and a white shirt.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said she is 5-foot, 4-inches tall, 120 pounds, and may be in need of medical attention.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the ECSO at (850) 436-9620.

Florida’s Purple Alerts are used to assist in the location of missing adults suffering from mental, cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Florida Disaster Sales Tax Holiday Ends Friday

June 8, 2023

The first of two Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays ends Friday. Floridians are expected to save an estimated $144 million on the purchase of tax-free items.

Eligible items include flashlights, batteries, tarps, generators, fuel containers, and coolers. Some new items included in this year’s list are toilet paper, paper towels, soap, sunscreen, cleaning products and trash bags.

A second disaster preparedness sales tax holiday will run August 26 through September 8. A complete list of items is below.

No Injuries In Bratt Crossroads Crash

June 8, 2023

There were no injuries when a driver struck a pole Wednesday night at the Bratt Crossroads.

The crash happened about about 8:50 p.m. at the intersection of West Highway 4 and North Highway 99. The driver struck a wooden pole that supports the flashing traffic signals at the intersection. The pole and signals were not damaged.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating. The Walnut Hill Station of Escambia County Fire Rescue and Escambia County EMS also responded. photo, click to enlarge.

Free Food Distribution Saturday In Gonzalez

June 8, 2023

Gonzalez Baptist Church will host a food distribution on Saturday, June 10 beginning at noon and continuing while supplies last.

The distribution will include canned goods, dry goods and fresh produce.

Gonzalez Baptist Church is located at 1590 Pauline Street, at the corner of old Chemstrand and Pauline, one block off Highway 29. file photo.

Tonight’s High School All-Star Softball, Baseball Games Postponed

June 8, 2023

UPDATE 4:30 PM — Tonight’s scheduled Pensacola Sports High School All-Star Series baseball and softball games have been postponed due to weather. The new date and time will be announced soon.

Previous story:

West teams are composed of just-graduated seniors from Escambia County. West teams are players from Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.

Softball begins at 6 p.m. and baseball at 6:30 p.m. at Pensacola State College. For each game, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students from GoFan.

West Baseball
Head Coach: Justin O’Quinn, Washington High

Zachary Beaver — Pine Forest — SS/P
Allen Beasley — Pine Forest — 1B
Tate Sanders — Escambia — 1B/3B
Tait Anderson — Escambia — C/OF
Jacob Smith — Escambia — RHP
Chandler Gither — Escambia — RHP/C
Blake Clonts — Escambia — 2B/3B/OF
Drew Reaves — Tate — SS/RHP
Frankie Randall — Tate — 2B
Rilee Lowery — Tate — RHP
Ethan McAnally — Tate — 1B/RHP
Jay Davis — Tate — OF/RHP
Tyler Pinney — West Florida — 1B/P
Gavin King — West Florida — 3B/2B
Jay Henderson — West Florida — CF
Anthony Longo — Washington — C
Avanti Anderson, Jr. — Washington — 3B/2B
Mike Smith Jr. — Catholic — CF/OF
Will Barter — Catholic — C
Zack DeJesus — Catholic — LF/OF
Will Krehely — Catholic — P/OF
Jonah Cook — Catholic — P/1B
Rustin Pope — Northview — C
Kaden Odom — Northview — SS
Jamarkus Jefferson — Northview — 3B/1B

East Baseball
Head Coach: George Sands, Rocky Bayou High

Brock Marello — Niceville — SS/OF
Kai Bailey — Niceville — 1B
Jackson McKenzie — Pace — 1B
Alex McCranie — Pace — SS/2B/P
Ty Humphreys — Pace — RF/1B
Matthew Musgrove — Pace — C
Josh Senterfitt — Laurel Hill — 1B
Javin Shoemaker — Crestview — C/SS
Bryson Martin — Crestview — OF/RHP
Robby Kopp — Crestview — OF
Aiden Justice — Crestview — CF
Eli Lowry — Jay — P/OF
Kade Gilbreath — Jay — 2B/SS
Brayden Dykes — Milton — RHP
Deyton Powell — Milton — OF
Hudson Bartolomei — Rocky Bayou — OF/P
Ben Cline — Rocky Bayou — CF/OF
Donovan Monsees — Choctaw — RHP/1B
Ashton Wasielewski — Choctaw — C/RHP
Alex Kruse — Fort Walton Beach — P/CF/1B
Josh Noll — Fort Walton Beach — P
Troy Coughlin — Gulf Breeze — 1B/2B
Seth Frantz — Gulf Breeze — RF/CF
Jacob Pinardo — Gulf Breeze — C/2B
Quinton Renfroe — Gulf Breeze — 1B/P

West Softball
Head Coach: Holly Brown, Catholic High

Alissa White — Pine Forest — OF/INF
Patrice Rudolph — Pine Forest — SS/3B
Rheanna Bourgeois — Escambia — SS
Abbie McNair — Escambia — 2B/OF
Trinity Brown — Escambia — OF
Belle Clark — Escambia — OF/1B
Leah Smith — Escambia — OF
Aubrey Stuckey — Northview — P/1B
Emma Gilmore — Northview — P
Mariah Golson — West Florida — OF
Karah Barajas — West Florida — Utility
Amissa McDaniel — West Florida — 3B
Charli Vinson — Tate — 1B/3B
Mackenzie Cook — Tate — 3B/2B
Caitlyn Cameron — Washington — P/1B
Kelly Cameron — Washington — 1B/P
Rachael Ludwig — Catholic — P/1B
Victoria Bruder — Catholic — 3B/1B
Kimsey Lawrence — Pensacola — 2B/SS

East Softball
Head Coach: Chelsea McGehee, Gulf Breeze High

Morgan Kronlage — Gulf Breeze — 1B/OF
Kaylee King — Gulf Breeze — SS/3B
Erika Earl — Gulf Breeze — CF/OF
Kamille Lucas — Milton — OF/P
Audrey Luedtke — Milton — C/1B
Ashley Leach — Laurel Hill — SS
Riley Forbes — Pace — OF/CF/LF
Bethany Dean — Pace — 2B/OF
Mary Owens — Niceville — 3B/C
Grace Langston — Niceville — CF/SS
Halaigh Sallee — Niceville — 3B/P
Alaynah Smith — Baker — P/RF
Jolee Sloan — Baker — SS
Caitlyn Gavin — Jay — 2B/SS
Kassidy Nevels — Jay — RF/OF
Jenna Toups — Jay — P/1B
Cailyn Cooke — Navarre — C/OF
Harmony Stafford — Navarre — SS/OF
Jessi Farrer — Navarre — OF/P
Alyanni Enriquez — FWB — SS/2B/OF
Tess Tolliver — FWB — 1B/3B
Alex Carrol — Crestview — C
Riley Bowles — Crestview — CF

Fitterer Shines, But Blue Wahoos Lose Seesaw Battle to Biscuits

June 8, 2023

Evan Fitterer wove one of his best starts in a season for the Blue Wahoos that he has punctuated with several other qualifiers.

But on this night, the bullpen couldn’t make it complete.

The Montgomery Biscuits rallied in each of the final three innings for an 8-5 victory Wednesday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium on the first mid-week summer fireworks night of the season.

Most of a near-capacity crowd (4,777) remained to watch a popular addition with the team hosting a fireworks show on Wednesdays in June and July home games. The fans also had their opportunity to play baseball bingo.

The Blue Wahoos (32-21) provided some sparkle. They regained leads in the sixth and seven innings, only to have the Biscuits answer against Blue Wahoos relievers. Montgomery put the game away with a third consecutive multi-run inning in the ninth.

Fitterer, a right-hander ranked as the Miami Marlins’ 27th overall prospect, made his eighth start Wednesday. He produced a career-high nine strikeouts in six innings. He allowed just three hits and two runs. Fitterer threw 95 pitches, 57 for strikes. He faced just 22 batters – four above the minimum – in his outing.

The Blue Wahoos’ Cody Morissette put him in line for a win after he blasted a two-run, go-ahead homer out of the ballpark, traveling 433 feet over the right-center berm.

But that 3-2 lead quickly evaporated in the top of the seventh. The Blue Wahoos’ first reliever, Zach Willeman, did not record an out. He hit the first batter he faced, then walked the next two. After Evan Edwards followed with a single, Willeman was pulled for Dylan Bice, who allowed another run, but escaped worse damage.

But the Blue Wahoos answered back with their at-bat in the seventh. Dane Myers led off with a walk. He then stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Troy Johnston was hit by a pitch. José Devers then flared a single for the tying run.

After Devers was picked off first, Will Banfield hit a sacrifice fly to score Johnston for the go-ahead run.

The Biscuits seized the lead for good in the eighth inning on a two-run bomb by Heriberto Hernandez on a two-out fastball from Bice.

Devers went 2-for-4 for the Blue Wahoos, highlighted by his solo homer in the third. Griffin Conine continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-3 with a walk.

The series continues on Thursday with Pensacola taking on their alternate identity as the Pensacola Mullets on Mullet Thursday. The team will wear their Mullets uniforms.

The Blue Wahoos will have M.D. Johnson (0-2, 5.63) on the mound against the Biscuits’ Cole Wilcox (0-4, 5.23).

by Bill Vilona, photo Nino Mendez / Pensacola Blue Wahoos

FHP: Escambia Motorcycle Deputy Injured In Crash With SUV During Escort

June 7, 2023

An Escambia County Sheriff’s Office motorcycle patrol deputy was injured when his motorcycle struck a SUV during an escort Wednesday morning.

The 48-year old male deputy was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital with leg injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Florida Highway Patrol provided the following details on how the crash happened:

“A group of Escambia County Sheriff patrol motorcycles were escorting a large passenger bus westbound on East Nine Mile Road. As the escort approached the East Nine Mile Road / Pensacola Boulevard intersection at the southbound ramp, the rider of the lead motorcycle position his bike in the intersection to control traffic. The driver of an eastbound SUV came to a stop partially in the intersection. The second motorcycle came and relieved the first motorcycle and took over the traffic control duties at the intersection. The passenger bus entered the intersection to turn left but stopped due to the SUV had prevented the passenger bus from making a wide turn. The deputy then waved the SUV through the intersection as the third motorcycle turned left to attempt to move up in the procession. The third motorcycle collided into the SUV in the intersection.”

The 40-year old female SUV driver was not injured. file photo.

Cantonment Man Charged With Armed Vehicle Burglary, Resisting Arrest

June 7, 2023

A Cantonment man has been arrested on charges related to a vehicle burglary and a stolen credit card.

Sundown West Brown, 28, was charged with armed burglary of a vehicle, petit theft of a credit card, loitering and prowling, possession of a concealed weapon and resisting arrest without violence.

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Brown walking in the area after responding to a suspicious person report in the area of Lydia Avenue, Tina Avenue and Melanie Drive.

As deputies worked to detain Brown, he resisted and reached for his front waistband area, according to an arrest report.

“Fearing Brown was reaching for a weapon, I delivered 3 to 4 knee strikes to his right chest area,” a deputy wrote in the report. After the fourth strike, he allowed the deputy to place his right hand in cuffs but continued to resist until other deputies arrived on scene, the report continues.

A fixed blade knife was located near Brown, the report states, and a matching sheath was located in his front waistband.. Deputies also reported finding a credit card stolen from a vehicle location at a nearby residence on Lydia Avenue.

Brown remained in the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $17,000.

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