Wahoos Drop Series To Biloxi

July 27, 2015

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos started off the first inning by scoring a run against the Biloxi Shuckers for the fourth time in the five game series.

Shuckers pitcher Jorge Lopez allowed the run on a double by Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej and an RBI-single by Jesse Winker to start the game and tie it at 1-1.

However, Pensacola would not get another hit off Lopez until 14 batters later in the fifth when Blue Wahoos catcher Yovan Gonzalez singled to left field.

Biloxi would go on to pull out a, 10-2, victory on 14 hits and win the last three games of the series over Pensacola in front of 4,173 Sunday at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

The Shuckers improved its record to 11-4 in three series against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos—its best record against a Southern League team. The Shuckers are also 11-4 against the Jacksonville Suns.

Lopez, who entered the game 1-1 against Pensacola, improved to 9-4 with a 2.72 ERA after surviving the first inning. The 22-year-old righty retired 11 in a row through the fourth inning. The Milwaukee Brewers No. 15 prospect has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last nine starts dating back to June 2.

Pensacola Manager Pat Kelly said Biloxi’s starting rotation impressed him this series.

“It came down to starting pitching,” Kelly said. “We just got outpitched this series.”

Although Kelly said he likes his rotation and bullpen, he’s interested in seeing the pitchers the Cincinnati Reds may send Pensacola’s way following its trade of starter Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Shuckers improved to 14-15 (57-40) in the second half of the Southern League South Division. The loss dropped Pensacola to 17-13 (42-56) in the second half and they remained tied for second with the Mississippi Braves.

Zach Vincej led Pensacola at the plate, going 1-2 with a double to center field, earning two walks and scoring a run. He has hit .348 in July (23-66) — his best month this season — to raise his season average to .264.

Against Pensacola, Shuckers left fielder Victor Roache extended his on-base streak to 11 games. Roache tore up Pensacola pitching, hitting .474 (9-19), including a two-out, three-run homer Sunday in the third inning that put Biloxi up, 4-1.

“We didn’t pitch him very well,” Kelly said of Roache. “When we made a mistake, he didn’t miss, that’s for sure.”

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos start a five-game series against the Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate the Chattanooga Lookouts, followed by a five-game series against the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate the Jacksonville Suns. The Blue Wahoos next home game is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. Friday Aug. 7 with the Chicago White Sox Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons.

Biloxi Beats The Wahoos

July 26, 2015

After being shut down for seven innings getting only one hit — a solo home run by left fielder Jesse Winker — the Pensacola Blue Wahoos lineup came alive in the eighth and ninth innings getting a double, two singles and a walk.

However, Pensacola’s hopes for a comeback against the Biloxi Shuckers fell short, 4-2, and the Shuckers evened the series at two games apiece in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. It was the 19th sellout of the season in 47 home dates and 123 since Pensacola’s first season in 2012.

There were plenty of theatrics in the ninth inning and not just at bat.

Home plate umpire Alex Ziegler ejected Pensacola catcher Kyle Skipworth over an alleged argument on a foul tip. Skipworth, who was behind the plate, took his catcher’s gear off and threw it toward the umpire. Pensacola manager Pat Kelly came out in the middle of the argument and was ejected. Kelly threw his helmet and hat down, took off his jersey and threw it to the ground and then ejected each of the umpires on the field.

Kelly said afterward that he was mad because the home plate umpire wouldn’t admit any wrongdoing after both teams argued about his strike zone throughout the game.

“My temper is good for 30 seconds,” Kelly said. “Once I reach 30 seconds, then it’s over. I don’t carry a grudge. I get it out of my system.”

Pensacola shortstop Juan Perez doubled off Shuckers reliever Jacob Barnes and scored on center fielder’s Bryson Smith’s single in the eighth that cut Biloxi’s lead to 3-2. However, Biloxi came back in the ninth and scored a run when third baseman Taylor Green scored on a perfect squeeze bunt by Shuckers catcher Parker Berberet to go up, 4-2.

In the ninth inning, first baseman Marquez Smith walked and right fielder Juan Duran singled but they were both left on base.

Kelly credited Biloxi’s left-handed starter Hobbs Johnson and reliever Jacob Barnes.

“They have good pitching and we face another good one tomorrow,” said Kelly, referring to Shuckers Jorge Lopez (8-4, 2.70). “That’s how they won the first half.”

For the third time against Biloxi this series, Pensacola smacked a solo home run in the first inning. Bryson Smith did it Wednesday, Ryan Wright did if Friday and Winker did it Saturday.

Winker smacked his seventh homer of the year and earned his team-leading 35th RBI to put the Blue Wahoos up 1-0.

It was the only hit Biloxi pitcher Johnson, the Milwaukee Brewers No. 23 prospect according to Baseball America, gave up in his seven innings of work. Johnson, in fact, retired 16 Blue Wahoos in a row from the second inning through the seventh inning before reliever Barnes came on.

Perez doubled in the eighth off the Shuckers reliever to end the streak of 17 straight Blue Wahoos set down.

Zack Weiss gave up his first run in relief since July 16 when Berberet’s squeeze bunt scored Green to put the Shuckers ahead, 4-2. In his 15 appearances since June 15, Weiss has given up just three runs in 17 innings for a 1.59 ERA. The Blue Wahoos closer has converted all 10 save opportunities and struck out 26 batters.

Biloxi went ahead, 2-1, in the second inning when Green doubled in two runs. In the top of the sixth, Biloxi shortstop Nick Shaw scored on a deep fly ball by first baseman Nick Ramirez to make the score, 3-1, Shuckers.

The Shuckers improved to 13-15 (56-40) in the second half of the Southern League South Division season. The loss dropped Pensacola into second place behind the Mobile BayBears at 17-12 (42-55) in the second half.

The final game of the five-game series is scheduled at 4:05 p.m. Sunday with the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers. RHP Barrett Astin (2-1, 3.45) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by Shuckers RHP Jorge Lopez (8-4, 2.70).

Biloxi Ends Wahoos Win Streak

July 25, 2015

No one expected the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to win the final 42 games of the season.

Although, Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said jokingly that he would have liked that.

The Biloxi Shuckers – the first half champions – ended the Blue Wahoo’s four-game win streak and 11 straight wins at home with a 3-2 victory Friday in front of 4,348 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

The loss dropped Pensacola into second place behind the Mobile BayBears at 17-11 (42-54) in the second half of the Southern League South Division race.

For the first four innings, the Blue Wahoos breezed along. Pensacola second baseman Ryan Wright belted his first home run of the year, a solo shot, to left field to give the Blue Wahoos a 1-0 lead.

Wright has played in four games since coming off the disabled list with back spasms July 20 and is hitting .429 (6-14) with two doubles, one homer and four RBIs.

“It was a first pitch fastball,” said Wright, who scored both of Pensacola’s runs. “I think I took him (Tyler Wagner) by surprise a little bit. But I wanted to be aggressive and that was the best pitch I saw all night. He’s a very good pitcher. We’ve seen him a few times this year.”

Meanwhile, Pensacola starter Tim Adleman started the game by setting down the first nine Shuckers before walking second baseman Nate Orf. He threw four hitless innings before the Shuckers scored three times on two hits in the fifth to go up, 3-1.

Biloxi left fielder Victor Roache scored an unearned run and then pitcher Tyler Wagner took matters into his own hands. His double rolled to the left center wall to score third baseman Taylor Green and catcher Adam Weisenburger and give the Shuckers a 3-1 lead.

Wagner had a season-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings against the Pensacola lineup and improved to 7-5 with a 2.53 ERA. His two RBIs also helped his cause. The Milwaukee Brewers No. 10 prospect according to MLB.com had been 0-3 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts in July, getting just six runs of support from Biloxi’s lineup.

Wagner made one appearance with the Brewers against the Arizona Diamondbacks May 31 and lasted 3.2 innings giving up five runs on nine hits.

Kelly said Wagner was impressive.

“He singlehandedly won the game for them,” Kelly said. “He was throwing a helluva game. We got some guys on base but he didn’t give us a lot of opportunities.”

Pensacola cut Biloxi’s lead to, 3-2, in the sixth inning when right fielder Juan Duran doubled off the left field wall to drive in Wright, who singled up the middle to lead off the sixth inning.

Pensacola went down in order in the seventh and eighth before putting the tying run on second and the winning run on first. But second baseman Ray Chang hit a line drive to first baseman Nick Ramirez, who caught the ball and tagged pinch runner Juan Perez out to end the game.

The fourth game of the five-game series is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. Saturday with the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers. RHP Josh Smith (5-2, 3.00) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by Shuckers LHP Hobbs Johnson (6-4, 3.36).

Storm 12U Team Wins Global World Series

July 24, 2015

The Pensacola Storm 12-year old Majors team recently won the Global World Series in Orange Beach, competing against 35 other 12U teams from across the county. They went 8-0 in tournament play, scoring a total of 56 runs while allowing just 16 runs. The Storm finished their season at 48-11, ranked 42nd in the nation out of 4,687 teams in 12U.

Pictured are Pensacola Storm 12U Majors team members (front, L-R) Damarius McGhee, Josh Turner, Aaron Noack, Tanner Rouchon, Ian Ladieu, (back) Jordan Jarman, Jordan McCants, Tyler Michanowicz, Hunter Pierson and Brady Garcia.

Blue Wahoos Win Tenth Straight Home Game

July 23, 2015

When Bryson Smith comes to the plate, opposing pitchers don’t exactly quake in their shoes that the center fielder will take them deep.

After all Smith’s career high is six in a season in 2012 when he split the season between Double-A Pensacola and High-A Bakersfield.

But Smith turned on a first pitch and took Biloxi pitcher Johnny Hellweg over the left field wall in the first inning and Pensacola went on to win its third straight game, 6-4, in front of 4,506 Wednesday at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Pensacola has won 8 of its last 11 games and 10 straight games at home since losing its home opener in the second half on July 1 to Jacksonville, 6-2.

Smith is now hitting .333 (6-18) with one homer and two RBIs in five games with Pensacola. His homer gave Pensacola 16 dingers in the past 12 games. Pensacola is in eighth place in the Southern League in home runs with 46 total.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said having the 26-year-old Bryson on the team, who played for the Blue Wahoos every season since 2012, has been calming to the club house.

“Boy, it’s nice to have him,” Kelly said. “The way he runs the bases. Just the way he plays the game. I really like what I see.”

Pensacola hitting coach Alex Pelaez said none of the Pensacola batters are trying to hit the ball out of the ball park.

“They’re not trying to,” Pelaez said. “They’re just putting good swings on it and it’s jumping out.”

The Blue Wahoos are tied for first place with the Mississippi Braves in the second half at 16-10 (41-53) in the Southern League South Division. It’s the first time since July 22, 2012, that Pensacola has been six games over .500. The Blue Wahoos have never been seven games over .500 in a season since its inaugural year in 2012.

Meanwhile, Biloxi, the first half winner in the South, fell to 11-14 (54-39).

Kelly said the team is taking winning in stride.

“I thought we’ve had great chemistry even from day one,” Kelly said. “To me, they’re the same. They’re not too up and the not to down even when we’re winning games. We were undermanned in the first half. Now we feel like we can compete.”

Relievers Jimmy Moran and Kyle McMyne, who earned his seventh save, blanked Biloxi over the last four innings, giving up two hits striking out two and benefitting from two double plays.

With relievers Patrick Schuster, Zack Weiss and Miguel Celestino not available, Kelly said their relief work was critical.

The second game of the five-game series is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. Thursday with the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers. RHP Daniel Wright (6-7, 4.57) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by Shuckers RHP Brooks Hall (7-5, 4.72).

NWE Flag Football Tourney, Registration Event Moved To Northview

July 23, 2015

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Northwest Escambia Flag Football Tournament and Registration Event scheduled for this Saturday has been moved from Ernest Ward Middle School to the practice football field at Northview High School.

The first game, and registration NWE Football and Cheerleading, will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Wahoos Move Into Second Place

July 22, 2015

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos played good defense, received clutch hitting and relied on strong pitching to hand the Jacksonville Suns its sixth straight loss.

It all came together to propel the Blue Wahoos to a 6-5 victory Tuesday in front of 3,290 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

On defense, Pensacola turned four double plays and now leads the Southern League with 119 total.

At the plate, Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej hit a solo home run in the first inning to knot the game at 1. Second baseman Ryan Wright singled in the fifth to score third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean to tie the score, 4-4. Finally, right fielder Juan Duran smashed a double down the third baseline in the sixth inning to put Pensacola ahead, 6-4.

On the mound, Barrett Astin lasted a career-long seven innings in his fifth start in Double-A, setting down the last seven Suns batters he faced. Then, Blue Wahoos closer Zack Weiss struck out two with the bases loaded in the eighth and two more in the ninth to earn his 12th save on the season.

Pensacola leads the Florida rivals’ race for the Golden Skillet, 9-6. The Blue Wahoos, who have one more five-game series left with the Suns, have never won the trophy since its inaugural season in 2012.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly is intent on winning the Golden Skillet, which he has a picture of on his Twitter account. But he said he’s not savvy enough to print it out.

“It would be the first time we’ve won it,” Kelly said. “It really tells us how much Jacksonville has dominated Pensacola the last four years. We want to win every series and win the division. That’s our goal. That’s what we’re shooting for.”

The Blue Wahoos are in second place at 15-10 in the Southern League South Division, one game behind the Mississippi Braves. They were 24-43 and in last place in the first half.

Duran provided much of the clutch hitting for Pensacola Tuesday. He went 3-5 with three doubles and three RBIs. He also generated a run on his own in the fifth when he reached on an error by the third baseman, stole second, stole third and then scored on a wild pitch that cut Jacksonville’s lead to 4-3. His two stolen bases came after he had one in his previous 118 games in Double-A.

Duran is hitting .270 with one homer and 13 RBIs for the Blue Wahoos since returning July 1 to the team after injury rehab at Goodyear, Ariz.

“I’m feeling very good,” said Duran, who played pepper with a Cincinnati Reds hitting coach Tuesday. “This is one of the best games in my life. That’s what I’m working on — being consistent.”

In his fifth start with the Blue Wahoos, Astin overcame a three-run fourth inning, to retire nine of the last 10 Suns he faced. Astin improved to 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA, after giving up four runs, three unearned, on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four.

“A good manager would have left him in the game,” Kelly said jokingly. “Astin did a really nice job, pitching through the seventh inning. We needed what he could give us.”

Jacksonville went on top with three runs in the fourth off Astin to go ahead, 4-2. He walked Suns third baseman Zack Cox to score right fielder Carlos Lopez. Suns catcher Chadd Krist then hit a double to left field that drove in shortstop J.T. Riddle and second baseman Terrence Dayleg.

Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the third when he lined a solo home run to left field. Vincej has hit in 13 of his last 14 games, going 4-7 in the series, with a home run and double. He’s batting 20-50 or .400 with five RBIs in those games and has raised his season average to .261.

The first game of the five-game series is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday with the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers. LHP Wandy Peralta (5-7, 5.72) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by Shuckers RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-2, 6.23).

Smith Hits Back To Back Homers In Wahoos Win

July 21, 2015

Pensacola Blue Wahoos first baseman Marquez Smith showed off the power that he has displayed throughout his nine seasons in the minor leagues.

The 30-year-old lined a two-run home run to left center in the first inning and then crushed a solo shot to left field in the second inning. Smith became the first Pensacola player to hit back-to-back home runs this season.

Pensacola downed Jacksonville, 7-4, Monday in front of 3,973 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium and now leads the Florida rivals’ race for the Golden Skillet, 8-6. The Blue Wahoos, who have one more five-game series left with the Suns, have never won the trophy since its inaugural season in 2012.

Smith has averaged just over 15 homers a season and last year smacked 30 mostly for the High-A Bakersfield Blaze. Besides his two home runs, he had a double and four RBIs. Smith now has seven homers and 33 RBIs and improved his batting average to .278 this season for Double-A Pensacola.

“It was a big one,” Smith said about his night. “A pretty huge one for sure.”

Smith said he cranked a slider and fastball out of the park. His play in the Mexican League earned him 300 more at bats during the winter. He said everyone on the team is stepping up their play in the second half.

“You go up every at bat just trying to battle,” he said. “I was just trying to move the runners over. I was able to get it in the air and drive it out.”

In the first inning, Smith lined a two-run home run to left center that also brought in left fielder Jesse Winker, who had hit a stand up double, to put Pensacola ahead, 3-0. In his next at bat, he crushed a solo shot to left field that put the Blue Wahoos up, 5-0, after two innings. Then, in the sixth inning, Smith doubled to score center fielder Bryson Smith for a 7-2 lead.

Smith became the eighth Pensacola player to clobber two homers in a game. Former outfielder Kyle Waldrop was the last to do it against Jacksonville on Aug. 19, 2014. No Blue Wahoos player has hit three homers in one game.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said Smith is now hitting like he did in Bakersfield, where he coached him last year.

“This is how he was swinging the bat last year,” Kelly said. “You’re starting to see it in this second half. I think he’s hitting extremely well.”

The fifth inning was the Seth Mejias-Brean inning. After making a diving grab at third of Jacksonville left fielder Eudy Pina’s sharp grounder and barely getting him out at first, Mejias-Brean came to the plate and crushed a solo homer to left field, which was his fifth of the year, and put Pensacola ahead, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Pensacola starter Josh Smith rebounded from his loss to Birmingham Barons who scored six runs before chasing him after 3.2 innings. It wasn’t pretty but Smith lasted 5.1 innings and gave up just two runs to Jacksonville and struck out eight. However, he also gave up 10 hits and two walks to the Suns. He improved to 5-2 on the season with a 3.00 ERA.

Four times Jacksonville loaded the bases and four times Pensacola thwarted the Suns from scoring.

Smith had given up two singles and a walk after getting the first two batters out in the fifth inning and got out of the bases-loaded jam.

Blue Wahoos reliever Patrick Schuster came in for Smith, who loaded the bases on three singles, and got a strike out and ground out to shortstop to end the sixth inning with no runs.

Then, Jacksonville loaded the bases in the eighth inning but Blue Wahoos reliever Miguel Celestino struck out the Suns’ cleanup hitter Matt Juengel on a 94 mph fastball.

Finally, Zack Weiss struck out two batters and got a ground out to escape with the bases loaded in the ninth inning without a score. Weiss now has a team-leading 11 saves.

“You can’t give them that many opportunities,” Kelly said. “Eventually, it comes back and bites you.”

The final game of the two-game series is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday with the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Suns

Skipworth Homers, Wahoos Lose To Birmingham

July 20, 2015

Pensacola Blue Wahoos catcher Kyle Skipworth set another franchise record Sunday with his seventh home run blast in a month and now has nine homers on the season.

On Thursday against the Birmingham Barons, Skipworth had set the team record with five homers in five straight games. He now has six homers in the past seven games and seven homers in the past 10 games.

Despite Skipworth lifting a fly ball over the center field wall for a solo home run in the seventh inning, Birmingham won, 11-3, Sunday at Regions Field and captured the five-game series, 3-2.

The Barons broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up, 9-0. Birmingham shortstop Tim Anderson had a two-run single and DH Courtney Hawkins hit a two-run home run.

Mostly the Barons relied on the arm of the Chicago White Sox No. 2 prospect Frankie Montas, who was called up for one day July 17 to the Major Leagues, where he served as the 26th man for a doubleheader.

Montas, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 102 mph this season, blanked Pensacola over five innings, allowing just two hits—a double by third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean in the fourth inning and a single by shortstop Zach Vincej in the fifth.

He also walked one and struck out eight in Sunday’s game. Montas improved to 3-1 in 16 starts in Double-A and lowered his ERA to 2.31. He has given up just three earned runs in his last 18 innings for a 1.50 ERA since June 28.

Mejias-Brean, who was 2-4, has gotten a hit in 13 of his last 16 games, including five multi-hit games. He is now batting .259 on the year.

Vincej went 1-3 and walked and has a hit in 11 of his last 12 games, after going 0-4 Saturday to end his 10-game hitting streak.

Pensacola is now 13-10 in the second half of the Southern League season (25-43 first half) and fell into second place in the South Division.

Meanwhile, the Barons improved to 17-5 in the second half (33-36 first half) and remains in first place in the North Division.

The Blue Wahoos return home to play the Jacksonville Suns July 20-21 and the Biloxi Shuckers July 22-26.

Smith, Winker Smash Homers In Wahoos 3-1 Win Over B’ham

July 19, 2015

Pensacola Blue Wahoos Marquez Smith and Jesse Winker both hit solo home runs against the Birmingham Barons Saturday at Regions Field to win its second game in a row.

Smith crushed a fly ball deep to left field for his fifth homer of the season in the fourth inning and Winker lined a drive to right center field for his sixth homer in the eighth inning.

The five-game series between Pensacola and Birmingham is tied at two games apiece after the Blue Wahoos, 3-1, victory. Pensacola, which has won eight of its last 10 games, plays the final game of the series with the Barons at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Smith, who was the DH, currently has five homers and 29 RBIs, while Winker, who was playing left field, now has six homers and 31 RBIs.

Pensacola went ahead, 2-1, when it scored its other run in the seventh inning after shortstop Juan Perez doubled in third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Birmingham had tied the game, 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning when first baseman Danny Hayes singled on a line drive to right field to score third baseman Nick Delmonico.

Pensacola starter Daniel Wright improved to 6-7 with a 4.57 ERA, after scattering nine hits and striking out four in eight innings of work. It was Wright’s third win in four games and his longest start of the year for the Blue Wahoos.

In his past two games, both wins, Wright has allowed one earned run in 15 innings for a 1.20 ERA that dropped his ERA below 5.0 runs per game for the first time this season.

Zack Weiss earned his team-leading 10th save, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out one.

Pensacola catcher Kyle Skipworth’s franchise record five home runs in five games was broken and Zach Vincej’s hitting streak ended at 10 games.

Mejias-Brean, who doubled Saturday in four at bats, has gotten a hit in 12 of his last 15 games, including four multi-hit games. He is now batting .255 on the year.

Pensacola is now 13-9 in the second half of the Southern League season and is tied for first place in the South Division. The last time the Blue Wahoos were in first place this late in the season was July 22, 2012.

The Barons dropped to 16-5 in the second half and lead the North Division by five games over the Montgomery Biscuits.

The Blue Wahoos return home to play the Jacksonville Suns July 20-21 and the Biloxi Shuckers July 22-26.

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