Wahoos Recognize State Champion Tate Lady Aggies

May 26, 2015

The Class 7A softball state champion Tate Lady Aggies were recognized Monday evening by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. They also had the opportunity to meet golfer and Wahoos minority owner Bubba Watson, and Tate Coach Melinda Wyatt tossed out a ceremonial first pitch. Photos by Barrett McClean Photography for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Clinch Series Against Jackson

May 26, 2015

If you believe 11-year veteran minor leaguer Ray Chang, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos victory over the Jackson Generals was never in doubt.

Trailing 6-0 after four innings, the 31-year-old Chang and his teammates just had a feeling they weren’t going to lose.

With four runs in the eighth, Pensacola pulled out an improbable, 8-7, series clinching win over the Generals in front of 4,149 fans at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium on Memorial Day.

Kyle Skipworth scored on a wild pitch thrown by Jackson reliever Matt Anderson to score the winning run, after Ryan Wright had tied the game, 7-7, with a one-out, bases loaded double into the gap in right center.

“We looked at each other after (pitcher) Wandy (Peralta) got hurt and the game had a weird feeling to it,” said Chang, who went 2-4 with two singles and scored twice. “We just looked at each other and knew we were going to win this ball game. It was such a great feeling to come back from that deficit.”

Chang is now hitting .366 in May (15-41) for the Blue Wahoos and .321 this season to be among the Pensacola hitting leaders.

The win improved the Blue Wahoos to 20-25 on the season headed into a crucial 10-game road trip against Mississippi Braves and Mobile BayBears, who lead the Blue Wahoos in the Southern League South Division standings.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said his team needed Monday’s victory after losing the past two games on late-inning heroics by Jackson. The Blue Wahoos scored four runs in the fourth to cut the lead and then four more in the eighth to win it.

“That’s why you play nine innings,” Kelly said. “Wandy gets the first two outs on four pitches and then loses it.”

In fact, Peralta ended up allowing four runs on three hits, two walks and an error in the first inning. The big hit came by left fielder Dario Pizzano who singled in Jordy Lara and D.J. Peterson.

However, in the top of the third inning Jackson center fielder Gabby Guerrero, who’s eighth inning single gave the Generals a, 6-5, win Sunday night, led off with a bullet off of Peralta’s left pitching hand. He threw some test pitches after a walk around the infield but Kelly called in reliever Layne Somsen.

Somsen pitched four innings giving up four hits, three walks and two runs, including a solo blast by Jabari Blash to left field to lead off the sixth inning that made the score, 7-4.

“(Peralta) felt like he could pitch but that’s a very valuable left arm,” Kelly said. “I didn’t feel like it was worth it.”

Chang was the instigator of getting shaving cream all over Wright in the post-game celebration when he walked off the field. Wright, who went 2-5 with a double and drove in three runs, has a nine game hitting streak. Wright is batting .325 (13-40) with eight RBIs two doubles.

Wright ended the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 0-22 hitless streak with the bases loaded Sunday and then got a double again Monday with the bases loaded for the Blue Wahoos, who are now 2-28.

“He has been so clutch all year,” Chang said.

Kelly said lucky for the Blue Wahoos the wind shifted around the sixth inning carrying Wright’s ball away from the Generals’ Guerrero in center and more to right toward Lara where it dropped in.

“If he drove the ball to right center with the wind blowing in we might not have scored,” Kelly said. “Guerrero was catching everything. But Lara didn’t have a good jump on it.”

Jackson Beats Pensacola Again

May 25, 2015

One of the reasons the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are two-games above .500 in May is that they never stop trying to score more runs.

It’s what first year manager Pat Kelly said he likes about his team that’s 19-25 and in fourth place in the Southern League South Division. The Blue Wahoos are now 13-11 in May, after starting April 6-14.

“The thing I really like about this team is the way we keep coming back,” Kelly said. “That’s something you didn’t see the first month.”

The Blue Wahoos fell a run short Sunday, 6-5, to the Jackson Generals in front of 4,502 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

However, Pensacola came right back in the seventh to tie the game, 5-5, when catcher Kyle Skipworth hit a deep fly ball to right field to score first baseman Marquez Smith from third. Jackson scored its winning run in the eighth when center fielder Gabby Guerrero knocked a single to score third baseman Jody Lara.

One of the stars for Pensacola has been Seth Mejias-Brean, who is hitting .333 (16-48) the past 13 games after going 3-5 with an RBI and stolen base. He also turned a great double play flagging down a bad hop, stepping on third and whipping it to first.

“The toughest thing is keeping steady,” said Mejias-Brean, who’s now hitting .244 on the year. “You could be hitting the ball really well and still not get any hits. You could be hitting like crap and still go 3-for-3.”

Ryan Wright ended the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 0-22 hitless streak with the bases loaded when he singled sharply to center and scored both first baseman Ray Chang and shortstop Zach Vincej to put Pensacola up, 4-0, in the second inning. Although Pensacola had failed to produce a hit until Wright’s, it did have 10 RBIs before adding two more.

Wright has an eight game hitting streak, batting .314 (11-35). He has driven in five runs and doubled.

Kelly chafed when about the team’s batting average with the bases loaded, calling it an “overrated stat.”

“A lot of things don’t show up in the average,” he said, lobbying for a new statistic. “If you’re knocking in about 50-60 percent of runs with men on third, then you’re doing pretty good. Batting averages are evil anyway.”

Wahoos Blow Chance To Beat Jackson

May 24, 2015

He had won his last two starts and came close to a third before Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Robert Stephenson walked Jackson Generals right fielder Jabari Blash and was pulled after throwing 107 pitches.

In 4.2 innings of work, Stephenson did strike out a career-high 11 hitters. However, it was not enough by the Cincinnati Reds top prospect, to help Pensacola pull out another win against the Jackson Generals, falling 8-6, in 11 innings.

Pensacola kept clawing its way back into the game in front of 5,038 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium—the 114th sellout in 225 home games. Pensacola has now won 11 of 16 games since May 7, and stands at 19-24 on the season.

Jackson went back on top, 7-6, in the 11th inning when Jabari Henry scored on catcher Marcus Littlehood’s double to the right field corner. They made it 8-6 when first baseman Dan Paolini was walked in by reliever Kevin Shackelford.

Stephenson walked five batters, including three straight in the first inning that led to the only two runs he gave up. He then fanned 11 of the final 13 outs. He gave up two hits in the game both to Generals leadoff batter Tyler Smith, who doubled and singled. He was 3-5 on the night with two doubles, two runs scored and one run batted in.

Stephenson appeared to protest being yanked by Pensacola manager Pat Kelly but was relieved by Blaine Howell, a Pensacola State College product.

“In the first inning, I’m trying to figure out the ump’s strike zone,” Stephenson said. “Definitely, aside from the first inning, I felt really good.”

Kelly was not happy with the Wahoos after the loss to the Generals.

“We’ve walked 25 guys in the last three nights we’ve played,” Kelly said. “We should just be thankful we won two out of three games.”

Blue Wahoos first baseman Marquez Smith tied the game in the ninth, 6-6, to send the game to extra innings when he hit a bouncer up the middle that scored center fielder Beau Amaral. Amaral led off the inning with a walk, the third leadoff walk in a row.

Jackson had gone ahead with a run in the bottom of the eighth, 6-5, when pinch runner Jabari Henry scored on reliever Carlos Gonzalez’s throwing error to first base on a sac bunt by catcher Marcus Littlehood.

Kelly said the Blue Wahoos simply squandered too many opportunities to win its third consecutive game, pointing to two failed sacrifice bunts during the game. In the bottom of the 11th the Blue Wahoos loaded the bases with two outs before Seth Mejias-Brean grounded out.

“We kept battling and kept battling,” Kelly said. “We had opportunities in lots of innings.”

Northview Takes On Jay In Spring Game (With Photo Gallery)

May 23, 2015

In the end, the scoreboard said the Northview Chiefs topped the Jay Royals 52-31 Friday night at Tommy Weaver Memorial Stadium in Bratt. The spring game started with a Northview 22-6 lead in the first half, which consisted mostly of the two team’s junior varsity or reserve players. The second half, which pitted varsity against varsity, Jay earned a 31-30 advantange.

“”We didn’t necessarily come into the game thinking we’d work it at a high tempo, but that’s what we did,” Northview Coach Sid Wheatley said following the win. He said while the Chiefs were on top, there’s still a long hot summer full of work before they are ready for the regular season in the fall.

“”We definitively have to clean some stuff up. We’ve got to get bigger, stronger, faster in the weight room and with our conditioning during summer,” he said.

For a NorthEscambia.com photo gallery, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Spring Football: Tate Over PFHS In OT; West Florida Beats Washington

May 23, 2015

The Tate Aggies beat the Pine Forest Eagles 20-14 in overtime Friday night. The Aggie took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 69-yard TD pass from Sawyer Smith to Jake Henry, and on a 70-yard touchdown run from LaDarryl Paige. The Eagles answered with two runs in the second quarter to tie it up 14-14. Tate’s win came in OT with a touchdown run from junior running back Corey Moorer .

The West Florida Jaguars won the varsity half of their spring game Friday night 35-0 over Washington High School. The JV Jaguars won the second half 55-0 over Washington.

Wahoos Top Generals

May 23, 2015

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos spotted Tim Adleman three runs and the tall righty handled the rest.

Adleman improved to 2-3 with a 1.41 ERA after throwing seven scoreless innings and now has given up one earned run in his last 25 innings. Pensacola won its second straight game against the Jackson Generals, 3-0, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

“Everybody around me did a great job tonight,” Adleman said. “Three is enough. That’s the job as a starter to go out there and whether you’re given one or three or nine just keeping the other team off the board.”

Adleman benefited from four double plays in seven of the innings he pitched and in the other three he struck a batter out. Pensacola now leads the Southern League with 54 double plays.

“I was just keeping it interesting. Trying to keep people on the edge of their seats,” he said jokingly.

Pensacola has now won 11 of 15 games since May 7, and improved its record to 19-23 on the season.

Shortstop Zach Vincej hit a homer deep to left field in the second inning for a 2-0 Pensacola lead. It was Vincej’s second homer in three at bats over the first two games with Jackson. It’s the second most home runs for Vincej in a season in his four-year minor league career. He hit three for the Low A Dayton Dragons in 2013.

Catcher Kyle Skipworth then launched a 390-foot, solo shot to the left center gap, which put the Blue Wahoos on top, 3-0.

In the first inning, Blue Wahoos third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean dropped a two-out, line drive into center that scored second baseman Ryan Wright from third for a 1-0 lead. It was Mejias-Brean’s 12th consecutive game that he reached base safely.

Vincej, who has two homers and 5 RBIs on the season, said the team is finally starting to gel.

“Everybody is starting to click now. We’re starting to mold as a team, which is great,” he said.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly gave credit to the infield, and especially third baseman Juan Perez. Perez started three of the four double plays and handled nine grounders perfectly. The Generals leadoff hitter Tyler Smith did smash a hard sinking line drive off his glove and into left field in the eighth but it was ruled a hit.

“Perez was tremendous at third tonight,” Kelly said. “He looked like a natural tonight. He has a lot of flexibility and can play all nine positions.”


West Florida’s Hicks Signs With Huntingdon College

May 22, 2015

Former Cantonment Cowboy and now West Florida High School senior Brandon Hicks has signed with Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Pictured: Brandon Hicks (in tie), his mother and father David and Kelli Hicks, sister Cheyenne Hicks and (standing) Coach Harry Lees and and West Florida Principal Eric Smith. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Weather Cancels Subway All Star Baseball And Softball Games

May 22, 2015

The Subway High School All-Star 2014-15 Series baseball and softball games at the University of West Florida were called Thursday evening due to threatening weather.

The East baseball team and West softball team were each up 1-0 as the games ended.

The games will not be rescheduled due to it being at the end of the school.

Team members were:

WEST SOFTBALL

Catholic – Keaton Covan – LF/SS
Escambia – Rebecca Rudd – OF
Escambia – Sara Spears – OF/1B
Northview – Addy Lee – 2B
Northview – Mallory Ryan – Pitcher/ 1B
Northview – Angel Lathan – Catcher/ CF
Pensacola – Tanogela Brown – RF
Pensacola – N’Dya Tolbert – CF
Pine Forest – Brooke Lauter – P/ 1B
Pine Forest – Tiana Alevedo – SS/ 2B
Tate – Izzy Werdann – C/3B
Tate – Tori Perkins – P/1B/3B
Tate – Sam Burks – OF
Tate – Casey McCrackin – SS
Tate – Rachel Wright – 2B/OF
Tate – Lauren Brennan – OF
Washington – Callan Burkett – 3B
Washington – Lauren Douber – CF
West Florida – Kayla Miller – 2B/SS/OF
West Florida – Kristin Gunter – SS/3B/1B

EAST SOFTBALL

Baker – Tori Foster – CF/IF/C
Baker – Alexis Mitchem – P/IF
Central – Makayla Simmons – 1B/OF
Central – Courtney Arnaud – C
Central – Brittney Amey – SS
Choctaw – Macie Gray – C
Choctaw – Sydney Oliver – CF
Crestview – Taylor Henderson – 2B/ SS/ RF
Fort Walton – Braya Enriquez – OF/C
Gulf Breeze – Gena Ramos – RF
Gulf Breeze – Sydney Ezelle – SS
Gulf Breeze – Paige VanTassel – 3B
Jay – Dana Blackmon – P/1B
Jay – Emily Dobson – 1B
Laurel Hill – Ashley Hatfield – C/ OF
Milton – Hannah Wakeman – 3B/P
Milton – Whitney Dowell – C/SS/3B/Athlete
Navarre – Shana Pearl – CF
Niceville – Haley Baker – Catcher
Niceville – Jaci Hodskins – OF/ IF
Niceville – Graysen Gladden – CF
Pace – Tristen Pearson – SS/OF
Pace – Payton Carpenter – P/DH

WEST BASEBALL

Catholic – David Rosen – P
Catholic – Brandon Lockridge – SS
Catholic – Jawan Purifoy – OF
Catholic – Evans Bozeman – IB- P
Catholic – Harrison Carroll – RF
East Hill – Joshua Farina – P/SS/3B
Escambia – Anthony Stoeter – CF
Escambia – Jessie Gunter – P
Northview – Chase Freeman – SS
Northview – Aaron McDonald – OF
PCA – Spencer Wass – P/SS/C/CF
PCA – Brennan Roberts – Catcher
PHS – Chris Welt – P
Pine Forest – Chris Byrd – 2B/P
Pine Forest – Brent Bodree – Catcher
Pine Forest – Nick Williams – P/1B/3B
Tate – Hunter Worley – 3B/C
Tate – Jacob Saulnier – 1B/OF
Tate – Mark Miller – 1B/LHP
Washington – Dylan Morgan – LH Pitcher
Washington – Thomas Strange – Pitcher/ OF
Washington – Rylan Hendricks – OF
Washington – Branch Robinson – OF
West Florida – Mikey Jones – P/INF
West Florida – RJ Lewis – SS/P
West Florida – Kyle Harrison – Catcher

EAST BASEBALL

Baker – Austin Hicks – P/SS/C
Central – Reid Grant – OF/IF
Central – Justin Abel – P/OF/1B
Choctaw – Zach Jowers – SS
Choctaw – Hayden Bludworth – P
Choctaw – Nate Gilmore – C
Crestview – Nathan Gerard – Catcher
FWB – Jake Smith – P
FWB – Joe Guidry – C
FWB – Darren Hasch – 3B
Gulf Breeze – Jacob Kubik – SS
Jay – Taylor Kelley – P/LF
Laurel Hill – Max Smith – OF
Milton – Taylor Ford – Catcher
Milton – Micah McGaha – Pitcher
Milton – Bryton Melvin – 3B/ Pitcher
Milton – Brenden Blevins – Outfield
Navarre – Billy Unterbrink – 2B
Niceville – Drew Frederic – SS
Niceville – Chance Riley – P
Niceville – Tyler Head – C/IF
Niceville – Trevor Eubanks – P
Pace – Chase Lambert – P
Pace – Tyler Sharp – SS
Rocky Bayou – Zackary Payne – Catcher/ OF

Pictured top: Subway All-Stars from Northview High  (L-R) Addy Lee, Chasen Freeman, Angel Lathan, Aaron McDonald and Mallory Ryan. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Beat Jackson

May 22, 2015

Zach Vincej came into Thursday’s game hitting .200 with only one run-batted in for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

However, the shortstop went 2-4 on the night, launching a three-run line drive over the left field wall that gave him his first homer of the year and raised his average to .220.

Vincej’s homer also lifted Pensacola to a six-run sixth inning and a victory, 8-5, in the opening of the five-game series with the Jackson Generals in front of 4,227 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Vincej, who was coming off of seven days on the disabled list with a left wrist contusion, said it felt good to get all of the hanging curveball from Jackson reliever Jordan Shippers, who was pounding him inside with fastballs.

“I’ve had a couple frustrating months myself personally,” Vincej said. “I had to remind myself it’s a long season and you just have to be resilient at the end of the day. I knew I got a good piece of it. It was a nice feeling. I’m glad everything worked out.”

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said a home run is a home run.

“It was great,” said Kelly, whose team is now on a 10-4 winning streak since May 7. “Fortunately, they give you the same number of points whether it goes over by an inch or 100-feet. Zach has had a tough time. But since he’s spent time on the DL, he’s been swinging the bat well since he has come back.”

Six of the Blue Wahoos eight runs – the most they’ve scored in a game this season – came from the bottom four batters in the order: third baseman Juan Perez, Vincej, DH Cam Maron and left fielder Juan Silva.

“We had six RBIs and six runs scored from the bottom of the lineup,” Kelly said. “That’s huge. Now, everybody is kind of on a roll.”

Jackson went ahead, 3-2, in the top of the sixth inning on five walks, four by Pensacola reliever Layne Somsen who lasted 0.1 innings and was charged with the runs.

That’s when the Blue Wahoos came right back with six straight runners on base, who all scored to put Pensacola back on top, 8-3.

“We’re believing in each other,” Vincej said of Pensacola, which improved to 18-23 on the season. “If they put three, we can put up three, as well. We have to keep our confidence going.”

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