April 23, 2017
Pensacola Blue Wahoos starter Tyler Mahle flirted with perfect games in his first two starts. On Saturday against the Mobile BayBears lineup he pitched a perfect nine innings — the first time that has happened in the Southern League since 1970.
Behind Mahle’s perfect game the Blue Wahoos won, 1-0, over Mobile at Hank Aaron Stadium and its eighth game in a row. Pensacola is off to its best start in franchise history and has the best record in the Southern League at 13-3.
Mahle said he was able to mow down the Mobile batters by relying on mixing the speeds and location of his fastball and said his “off-speed stuff was OK.”
“There’s no way to really do it,” the 22-year-old Mahle said. “You got to go out there and it just happens by chance. I feel good. You know it doesn’t happen often. It’s unreal.”
The Blue Wahoos opening day starter, who struck out eight in Saturday’s game, improved to 4-0 with a 0.67 ERA. He is the first Southern League pitcher to reach four wins this season and his ERA is third in the Southern League behind two pitchers with 0.00 earned-run averages.
In his first two starts, Mahle threw 4.1 perfect innings against Tennessee and 5.0 perfect innings against Biloxi. Baseball America ranked him the Cincinnati Reds 12th best prospect to start the 2017 season.
He did throw a no-hitter last season in a game June 13 against Jupiter Hammerheads in High-A with the Daytona Tortugas.
The Reds’ moved him up in June to its Double-A affiliate in Pensacola and he participated in his first Major League spring training camp this year.
Mahle was named the Reds’ Sheldon Chief Bender Award as the club’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 when he was with Low-A Dayton Dragons and posted a 13-8 record and 2.43 ERA.
He was 14-6 last year with Daytona and Pensacola but said he felt his performance for the Blue Wahoos was the “worst” in his professional career. He was 1-2 with a 6.90 ERA in his last eight starts and lasted 3.2 innings or less three times.
Mahle thanked his defense for their stingy defense behind him throughout the game. Blue Wahoos shortstop Blake Trahan has made only two errors in 16 games this season. In addition, Gabriel Guerrero caught some fly balls on the run in left field.
“They were in the perfect spots and they ran some balls down,” said the humble Mahle. “They made some amazing plays.”
All Mahle needed was a single to left field by catcher Joe Hudson in the second inning that drove in right fielder Aristides Aquino to put the Blue Wahoos up 1-0. Aquino ripped a double to center field to start the second inning.
They were the only two hits that Mobile starter Tyler Carpenter gave up to Pensacola in his eight inning start
Mahle’s perfect game gave the Blue Wahoos pitching staff a ridiculous team ERA of 2.17, which leads the league. It was also the team’s fourth shutout in its 16 games played this season, the most in the league.
April 22, 2017
The Freeport Bulldogs beat the Northview Chiefs 8-4 Friday night in Bratt.
Freeport took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Chiefs responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third. After a scoreless fourth inning, Freeport added four more runs in the top of the fifth for an 8-4 lead.
The Northview Chiefs will travel to Central on Monday before returning home for a Senior Night game Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Pensacola Christian.
The Chiefs will wrap up their regular season next Thursday on the road against the Pine Forest Eagles.
OTHER BASEBALL SCORES
Escambia 3, Tate 0
The Escambia Gators upset the No 1. Tate Aggies 3-0 Friday night.
All three of Escambia’s runs came in the bottom of the third.
For Tate – Logan McGuffey 1-3; Blake Anderson 1-2. Gabe Castro took the loss for Tate.
Escambia 10, Tate 2 (JV)
NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.
April 22, 2017
Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Austin Ross and Jacksonville starting pitcher Chris Mazza dueled to a 0-0 tie for seven innings.
But in the eighth the Blue Wahoos put up two runs on a walk, error and sacrifice fly and wild pitch to sweep the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the five-game series Friday in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly compared the game to a tennis match.
“A game like that the first team that makes a mistake gets beat,” he said. “If you’re the one to break the serve, you got a chance to win.”
It’s not often teams sweep five-game series. Last season, Pensacola swept the Birmingham Barons on the road to end the season and in 2015 it swept the Montgomery Biscuits at home.
The Blue Wahoos have now won seven straight games and own the best record in the Southern League at 12-3. It’s the best start since the franchise began in 2012.
This year in three starts for the Cincinnati Reds, the 28-year-old Ross is 2-0 with an 0.86 ERA. In 21 innings, he has allowed 10 hits, two earned runs, walked seven and struck out 13. Friday night, he pitched seven scoreless innings to up his scoreless inning streak to 18 innings.
He gave up just three hits, three walks and struck out seven Jumbo Shrimp hitters.
“Good pitches are good pitches,” the 28-year-old Ross said. “It’s all about just executing your pitches. It was fun going back and forth like that (with Mazza). With the flow of a game like that, sometimes guys just feed off each other. Each run matters.”
Fortunately for the Blue Wahoos, they scored first when left fielder Leon Landry walked and advanced to third when Joe Hudson came into pinch hit and bunted to Jacksonville third baseman Brian Anderson, who overthrew first baseman Taylor Ard.
With runners on second and third and no outs, Pensacola shortstop Blake Trahan hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right center to score Landry and put the Blue Wahoos up, 1-0. Catcher Devin Mesoraco then hit a line drive shot that was too hot for the pitcher to handle for a single and Hudson moved to third base where he scored on a wild pitch by Jacksonville reliever Tyler Higgins to give the Blue Wahoos ahead, 2-0.
Before the eighth inning, the highlight of the game was when right fielder Aristides Aquino chased down a single by Jacksonville right fielder John Norwood in the second inning deep in the outfield and then gunned a throw to Trahan to get Norwood out.
“That play changed the inning and changed the game,” Ross said. “It could have been first and second with no outs.”
April 21, 2017
Tate 7, Navarre 0
Hannah Brown threw no hitter Thursday in a Tate Aggie Senior Night 7-0 win over Navarre.
Brown pitched seven innings, allowing no runs, two hits, and striking out eight.
Hitting for Tate — Hannah Brown 2-4, RBI; Hayden Lindsay 1-3; Belle Wolfenden 2 RBI; Shelby Ulrich R, RBI; Madison Nelson 1-3, R; Shelby McLean 2-3, R, 2 RBI; Kendall Attaway R.
Thursday was Senior Night with special honors for Kendall Attaway, Tristen Cook and Hayden Lindsay.
Pictured top: Tate seniors Kendall Attaway, Tristen Cook and Hayden Lindsay. Pictured below: Senior Night activities. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
April 21, 2017
Hitting for Northview — Jamia Newton 0-3, R; Kendall Enfinger 1-4 R, RBI; Aubree Love 1-4, R, RBI, 2B; Peighton Dortch 2-3, RBI, 2B; Alana Brown 1-2; Terriana Redmond 1-3.
Tori Herrington pitched seven for the Chiefs, allowing nine hits while striking out 10.
NorthEscambia.com photos, and photos by Ditto Gorme for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
April 21, 2017
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are off to its best start in franchise history winning 10 of its last 11 games and sixth game in a row.
They were winning with pitching and defense. The ball club has the lowest ERA in the Southern League at 2.48, which offset the Blue Wahoos hitting below the Mendoza line.
In its past three games, Pensacola has scored 22 runs on 35 hits to improve to 11-3 – the best record in the Southern League. It defeated the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 8-5, Thursday in front of 4,311 at Blue Wahoos Stadium and have now captured all three of its series to start the season.
Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly isn’t surprised the team is winning, especially with its average rising by 34 points to .228.
“Early on good pitching kept us in the ball game,” he said. “It’s good to see the offense come alive. We’re a good ball club. We won that Biloxi series and we hadn’t been able to win a series there until then.”
Both right fielder Aristides Aquino and first baseman Angelo Gumbs hit bombs to lead the Blue Wahoos offense Thursday.
Gumbs, who went 3-4, scored twice and knocked in two runs, said the team has gelled. An everyday player last season in High-A, he now is coming off the bench and splitting time with Eric Jagielo at first base.
“We have a great group of guys,” said Gumbs, who is hitting .364. “Everyone is close in there. We push each other to get better every game.”
Pensacola’s lineup exploded at the plate in the second inning with Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin’s advice earlier this week to be aggressive at the plate apparently ringing in their ears. The team hit for the cycle with a single, two doubles, a triple and home run to score five runs and go up, 5-1.
Aquino punished a pitch to the opposite field for a two-run homer that barely cleared the fence near the right field foul pole. The first Double-A home run for Aquino, the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Player of the Year last season, also drove in left fielder Gabriel Guerrero, who led off the inning with a double.
Leading, 2-1, Gumbs then hit a high pop up in short right field that fell between three Jacksonville defenders for a hit. Blue Wahoos third baseman Taylor Sparks then ripped a grounder into the left field corner for a double that scored Gumbs from first base, giving Pensacola a 3-1 lead. Still with no outs, center fielder Brian O’Grady lifted a high fly ball to right center that bounced off the top of the wall for a triple that drove in Sparks to make it 4-1.
With one out and O’Grady at third, Blue Wahoos shortstop Blake Trahan hit a chopper to Jacksonville second baseman David Vidal who threw home trying to get O’Grady out but he slid to the back of home plate to put Pensacola ahead, 5-1.
Kelly said it was good for power hitters Aquino and Gumbs to club their first homers of the season, so they can relax more at the plate.
“You don’t see a lot of home runs drilled to right field like that,” Kelly said of Aquino’s blast in the second inning. “It’s a good sign when he’s going the opposite way.”
Vidal, who played parts of the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Blue Wahoos, hit his first home run of the season in the second inning to give Jacksonville a 1-0 lead. He also drove in the Jumbo Shrimps’ second run with a double in the fourth inning that drove in right fielder John Norwood to pull them within, 5-2.
Jacksonville fought back within one run in the fifth, 5-4, when Alex Glenn blasted a line drive triple into the right center gap getting both shortstop Alex Yarbrough and center fielder Jeremias Pineda.
But in the sixth, Pensacola scored three runs including a two-run homer that Gumbs pulverized to left field to go up 8-4.
Pensacola again made some spectacular defensive plays. The Blue Wahoos turned a double play in the sixth inning when Vidal bunted back to Blue Wahoos’ pitcher Deck McGuire who threw him out at first. Gumbs then alertly threw to third base where Pensacola catcher Devin Mesoraco sprinted to cover the bag, and in one move leapt to catch the throw and tagged out Norwood. Trahan followed that by cutting off a sharp grounder headed to center field and throwing off balance to get catcher Cam Maron out to end the sixth inning.
Mesoraco also picked off Jacksonville first baseman Taylor Ard at second in the fifth inning with Jumbo Shrimp pitcher Mike Kickham batting. Sent to Pensacola for 20 days of rehabilitation to recover from surgeries to both hips and his left shoulder, the 2014 All-Star has started to shine behind the plate.
Pensacola’s McGuire, a first-round pick in 2010, started the game strong, striking out the side in both the first and second inning, although he did serve up a dinger. He retired the last 11 hitters he faced in his start against the Biloxi Shuckers and struck out the first four Thursday.
McGuire earned his first Blue Wahoos win, throwing six innings, giving up six hits, four runs, two walks and striking out seven.
“He’s been through a lot of organizations (five) in a small amount of time,” Kelly said. “They were messing with his mechanics. We told him to throw like Deck McGuire throws and don’t worry about it.”
April 20, 2017
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos won its fifth consecutive game with more drama and suspense than the movie Titanic.
Pensacola was ahead, 3-1, against Jacksonville, gave up three runs in the eighth inning to fall behind, 5-3, then scored four runs of its own in the bottom of the eighth to pull out its fifth consecutive victory with a, 7-5, win Wednesday over the Jumbo Shrimp at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The game was an “emotional roller coaster” for Pensacola second baseman Josh VanMeter on a night that the Double-A club team celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of the tragic love story that tied records for number of Academy Award nominations with 14 and wins with 11, including a Best Director award for James Cameron.
The three-hour movie with its ups and downs was still faster than Wednesday’s game that lasted three hours and 20 minutes.
For the second consecutive night, VanMeter came to the plate with the bases loaded. On a 3-2 count with two outs, he delivered a bases clearing single to right field to make up for two throwing errors. His overthrow in the eighth inning came on a tailor-made double play that instead allowed Jacksonville left fielder Jeremias Pineda to tie the score, 3-3.
“Up until tonight (Wednesday), my defense has been pretty darn good all year,” he said. “I have to thank my teammates for picking me up and letting me have an opportunity to redeem myself.”
Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly said the team is showing him a lot of grit by playing hard all nine innings.
“The eighth inning wasn’t pretty for either club,” Kelly said. “We gave up runs and fall behind. It was nice for VanMeter to get a redeemer there. He got with the bases loaded and got a clutch hit.”
Early in Wednesday’s game, Blue Wahoos starter Keury Mella returned to looking like a top pitching prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
He’s ranked the organization’s 19th top prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, but didn’t look like it entering Wednesday’s game 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA after lasting just 1.2 innings and giving up five runs in his last start against the Biloxi Shuckers.
Against Jacksonville, though, Mella allowed just one run on four hits and struck out seven in six innings of work. The 23-year-old left in the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead but his first win in Double-A was spoiled when Pensacola’s normally reliable bullpen fell apart.
“He’s young and had great stuff,” Kelly said of Mella. “Young pitchers have to handle the ups and downs and the flow of the game and not get too emotionally involved. We’ve been working with him to stay even keeled.”
Jacksonville shortstop Alex Yarbrough lined a single into center in the seventh off reliever Ariel Hernandez that scored catcher Austin Nola to pull within, 3-2.
In its next at bat in the eighth, the Jumbo Shrimp got three runs across on four singles off Pensacola relievers Brennan Bernardino and Alex Powers, who gave up four hits and a walk to the Jumbo Shrimp. They weren’t helped by VanMeter committing his second throwing error that would have ended the inning on a double play with Jacksonville scoring just one run.
Jacksonville first baseman Taylor Ard lined single to center field that scored second baseman David Vidal to put the Jumbo Shrimp up, 5-3.
Blue Wahoos shortstop Blake Trahan drove in Brian O’Grady in the third inning with a single that took a hop that the Jacksonville’s Vidal couldn’t handle cleanly to knot the game, 1-1.
In the fourth inning, Pensacola went ahead, 2-1, when first baseman Eric Jagielo smashed a liner that caromed off the pitcher and shortstop into centerfield to score right fielder Aristides Aquino.
The Blue Wahoos tacked on another run to go up, 3-1, when third baseman Alex Blandino grounded out deep in the hole to the Jacksonville shortstop’s right with the bases loaded to allow catcher Adrian Nieto to score.
April 19, 2017
The Tate Aggies beat Crestview Tuesday 12-2.
Tate Aggies Varsity collected 11 hits. Tanner Helton, Jesse Sherrill, Logan McGuffey, and Reid Halfacre each collected multiple hits for Tate Aggies Varsity. Logan Blackmon went 1-for-2 with a homerun and four RBIs.
Tate hitters — Reid Halfacre 2-2, RBI, 2R; Mason Land R, RBI; Logan McGuffey 2-4, 3 RBI, R; Logan Blackmon 1-2, 4 RBI, 2 R, HR; Kyler Hultgren RBI; Hunter NeSmith R; Tanner Helton 3-4, 2R; Jesse Sherrill 2-3, 2 R, RBI.
Up next, the Aggies will host Escambia on Thursday.
April 19, 2017
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly asserted since the beginning of the season that the Blue Wahoos would be a good hitting team.
The team entered Tuesday’s game with a team batting average below the Mendoza line at .194.
However, the Blue Wahoos, who have relied on pitching and defense to this point of the season to record the best record in the Southern League at 9-3, broke out for season-highs with seven runs and 11 hits to beat the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 7-4, in front of 3,298 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Kelly said he remains confident in his lineup.
“We’re not going to hit .190 for the year,” Kelly said winking. “We’re coming along. We have a few more guys who need to get going.”
Pensacola broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Leon Landry, who was 0-18 this season, came into pinch hit and lined a sharp single of the arm of Jacksonville pitcher Tyler Bremer, to knock him out of the game and load the bases with two outs.
That’s when center fielder Brian O’Grady stepped to the plate. He had blasted his team-leading third homer off the video board in the fourth inning to give the Blue Wahoos a 4-0 lead. O’Grady was promptly walked by new pitcher Tyler Kinley that forced in Gabriel Guerrero, who had doubled earlier in the eighth, for a 5-4 lead.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Josh VanMeter stepped to the plate and slammed a single to right field to score both first baseman Angelo Gumbs, who reached base on an intentional walk, and Landry to put Pensacola ahead, 7-4.
Previously, VanMeter had struck out four times in a row. But Kelly said VanMeter has “earned his at bats,” playing in 10 games this year and batting .270.
“From day one he has hit the ball,” Kelly said. “I’m really impressed. This guy has hit all the way through the minor leagues.”
Van Meter said it was nice for the offense to finally come through for the pitching staff, which struggled Tuesday. Previously, the most Pensacola had scored was four runs, which the club did three times. The Blue Wahoos’ most hits previously were nine against the Tennessee Smokies in the opening series.
“Pitching has kind of been bailing us out during this first stretch of games,” VanMeter said of the pitching staff that has a Southern League-leading 2.06 ERA. “It was time for us to pick them up. They gave up four runs and we still won the game.”
Aristides Aquino, the Cincinnati Reds sixth best prospect after hitting 23 homers last year, is hitting the ball hard going 2-4 Tuesday with two RBIs. He is 3-8 with a run and three RBIs in the first two games against Jacksonville and raised his average 33 points to .194. Blue Wahoos shortstop Blake Trahan is 4-12 in his last three games and raised his average from .194 to .231.
Gabriel Guerrero remains on a terror going 3-4 with a triple and a double and two runs scored. The left fielder now has seven multi-hit games in the 12 games he has played.
Blue Wahoos right-hander Luis Castillo faced his former Jacksonville team Tuesday night. The flamethrower, who hit 101 on the stadium radar gun, threw five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits to the Jumbo Shrimp.
But then came the sixth inning and Jacksonville rallied to tie the score at 4-4 with Castillo giving up three of those runs, two of which were earned. The inning started with Pensacola Trahan making a week throw to first that was ruled an error and allowed Jacksonville’s Adeiny Hechavarria to reach first.
Hechavarria, the starting shortstop for the Miami Marlins, is playing for the Jumbo Shrimp as he recovers from a strained left oblique and is expected to be back with the Big League club on Friday. He was 1-4 and robbed of another hit by Pensacola center fielder Brian O’Grady who dived head first to catch a tailing line drive.
Jumbo Shrimp third baseman Brian Anderson then doubled Hechavarria home with a line drive in the right center gap that rolled to the fence to pull within, 4-1. After a groundout, Jacksonville right fielder John Norwood smacked a two-run homer off Castillo over the right field wall into Pensacola Bay to make the score, 4-3.
Castillo was replaced by Domingo Tapia, who gave up three singles and allowed the Jumbo Shrimp to tie the game, 4-4, when second baseman David Vidal scored on pinch hitter Alex Yarbrough sharp single to center.
“The first five innings everything was working great and then all of a sudden they start hitting the ball hard,” Kelly said. “Things didn’t go our way.”
Jimmy Herget earned his sixth save in six tries but even he gave up a walk and a single before finishing off Jacksonville.
April 18, 2017
Northview 3, Central 2
The Northview Lady Chiefs beat state-ranked Central 3-2 Monday.
The Chiefs, 11-4 in Class 1A, hosts Chipley Tuesday night to decide if the Chief see second or third seed in upcoming district play.
“We struggled offensively and defensively coming off of a three-day weekend but we had players to step up and drive in three runs when needed to give us the win,” Northview Coach Amy Holland said. “Our team is still very young with only two seniors and the rest mostly ninth and tenth graders…Tori Herrington has 140 strikeouts this year — very impressive for a 10 grader.”
Herrington pitched a complete game for the Chiefs allowing six hits, three runs, two errors and striking out four. She was 1-3 at bat for the Lady Chiefs.
For Northview – Jamia Newton 2-4, R, RBI, 3B; Kendall Enfinger 1-2, RBI; Peighton Dortch 1-3, 3B; Teriana Redmond R.
The Chiefs host Chipley at 6:00 Tuesday in Bratt. Senior Night activities begin at 5:30.
Northview 12, W.S. Neal 11
The Northview Chiefs beat W.S. Neal Tuesday 12-11. Jared Aliff homored for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs will cross the Escambia River to play Jay’s Royals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Tate 8, West Florida (9th grade)