Wahoos Fall To The Montgomery Biscuits

July 31, 2016

The Montgomery Biscuits came back from a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to beat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 4-3, Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium.

Montgomery overcame Pensacola in its last at bat in the bottom of the ninth when right fielder Justin Williams led off with a double to center field.  He then came around to score the winning run when DH Granden Goetzman bunted back to Pensacola reliever Abel De Los Santos, who threw the ball away.

The victory in the final game of the five-game series allowed Montgomery to capture the series, 3-2. The Biscuits improved 21-14 in the second half to lead the Southern League North Divison. Pensacola, dropped to 17-18 and starts a five-game series at 4 p.m. Sunday against the Mississippi Braves.

Pensacola could have won the game but had two runners thrown at home plate.

In the ninth inning, Blue Wahoos DH Eric Jagielo singled on a ground ball to center field and Brandon Dixon replaced him as a pinch runner. Pensacola catcher Chad Wallach bunted Dixon to second. Then, Pensacola center fielder Jeff Gelalich hit a line drive single to center field to Montgomery’s Braxton Lee who threw Dixon out trying to score the go-ahead run.

Again in the fourth inning, Pensacola third baseman Taylor Sparks struck out but reached first on a wild pitch and then stole his first base of the season to move to second. Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej then hit a line drive single to left field to Montgomery’s Cade Gotta, who came up throwing to Biscuits catcher Jake DePew to get Sparks out at home to end the inning.

Pensacola had gone ahead when it scored three runs in the seventh inning. The Blue Wahoos loaded the bases with two out in the inning when second baseman Alex Blandino stepped to the plate and delivered a line drive single to left field to drive in Vincej and first baseman Ray Chang for two runs. Pensacola scored another run when Wallach scored on a passed ball to make the score, 3-0.

But Montgomery came right back in the bottom of the seventh. The Biscuits’ Lee came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a ground ball to Vincej, who got the force out at second base allowing Williams to score to pull the Biscuits within, 3-1. Montgomery’s Gotta then doubled in DH Granden Goetzman and Lee to knot the game at 3-3.

All three runs were charged to Pensacola reliever Evan Mitchell, who pitched 0.2 innings.

Montgomery’s comeback victory spoiled the start by Barrett Astin. Making his seventh spot start of the season, Astin pitched a season-high six shutout innings, allowing two hits, walking two and striking out eight.

Pensacola was led at the plate by Vincej, who went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. He is now hitting a season best .359 in the month of July. Meanwhile, Blandino went 1-4 and drove in two runs to increase his RBIs to 27 this season.

Wahoos Beat Montgomery

July 30, 2016

All season long, Pensacola starting pitcher Sal Romano has worked hard to improve with Blue Wahoos pitching coach Danny Darwin.

That extra work paid off Friday when the 22-year-old pitched 6.2 perfect innings to help lead Pensacola to a 4-0 victory Friday over the Montgomery Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium. The series is now tied, 2-2, going into the final game of the five-game series Saturday.

Pensacola, the first half Southern League champions, improved its record to 17-17 in the second half. Meanwhile, Montgomery fell to 20-14 but still leads the North Division.

With two out in the seventh inning, Romano hit Montgomery shortstop Willy Adames to end his perfect game. The next batter, Biscuits first baseman Jake Bauers, singled on a line drive to right field to break up the no-hitter.

After Darwin visited the mound to calm the big righty, Romano struck out Montgomery left fielder Granden Goetzman.

Romano, rated the ninth best prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization by MLB.com, struck out six batters total, which included striking out the side in the fifth inning. He didn’t walk any batters.

The last time Romano pitched a one-hitter was when he completed seven innings July 21, 2015, for the High-A Daytona Tortugas. Romano struck out six in that game, too, and walked none.

Romano improved to 4-10, winning three of his last four starts, and lowered his earned-run average to 3.98. It’s the first time his ERA fell below 4.00 since May 4

Rated the pitcher with the best fastball in the Reds system, Romano now has 106 strikeouts this season to lead the Southern League.

Pensacola reliever Carlos Gonzalez replaced Romano in the eighth inning and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one more hit to Montgomery. He earned his seventh save for the Blue Wahoos this season.

The Blue Wahoos scored two runs with two outs in the eighth inning to go up, 2-0, when Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej doubled —his 17th of the season — to left field to drive in Ray Chang, who had doubled. The second run scored when DH Brandon Dixon reached first on an error by Adames that allowed Vincej to score from second base.

Vincej is now hitting .337 (29-86), so far, this month and has 11 RBIs in July — his highest monthly total.

Alex Blandino launched a two-run homer to center field in the top of the ninth inning to give Pensacola a 4-0 lead. It was his seventh homer this season and he now has 25 RBIs.

Pensacola did have two good chances to score earlier in the game. In the third inning, Chang came up with the bases loaded and one out and flew out to Montgomery right fielder Cade Gotta. Gotta then threw home to catcher Jake DePew to nail the Blue Wahoos’ Blandino at home.

Chang had been 3-3 with the bases loaded with a double and five RBIs when he stepped to the plate.

Again, Pensacola had runners at the corners with two outs when right fielder Jeff Gelalich doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch and Blandino walked. However, Pensacola center fielder Beau Amaral struck out to end the inning.

Montgomery starting pitcher Chris Kirsch also threw well. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven. He left the game in a 0-0 tie.

Northview Chiefs Name Dereck Marshman As New Head Football Coach

July 29, 2016

Northview High School has named Dereck Marshman as their head football coach.

Mashman has been an assistant coach for the Chiefs since 2010, except for a short stint in Tennessee. He was part of the coaching staff that led the Northview Chiefs to a state football championship in 2012. He said he expects his transition from defensive and strength coach into the head coaching position will be an easy step for a team he says is poised for great season.

“It will be seamless when we start practice on Monday. We have our assistant coaching staff already in place, and  I have confidence in them. It will not be like we are starting over today.”

“We have a chance to be a pretty special team this year. The senior leadership is special this year; they have worked together for a long time and have proven themselves during very demanding summer workouts and in the weight room.”

Marshman said the Chiefs have a very touch regular season schedule in which they will play up several classifications against much larger schools, and he said he’s looking forward to a December trip to Orlando and the state championship game.

Northview Principal Gayle Weaver said Marshman was an easy and obvious choice to lead the Chiefs. He was offered and accepted the position Friday morning after interviews were conducted.

“He brings stability and consistency to the team,” Weaver said. “I have great hopes for this season.

Marshman will not take over as Northview’s head baseball coach as the position was originally to be advertised. Instead, Weaver said Marshman’s current job as In School Suspension coordinator will be advertised in conjunction with the head baseball coach position.

Former football and baseball head coach Sid Wheatley announced his resignation in late July to return home to a coaching position in his native Mississippi. He said he wanted to be closer to his family after 11 years away at Northview. He had a 50-31 record as Northview’s head coach.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Montgomery Beats The Wahoos

July 29, 2016

The Montgomery Biscuits bats came alive just in time to score three runs in its last two at bats to overcome the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 4-1, Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.

Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Jackson Stephens had silenced the Biscuits’ bats by retiring 11 in a row before Montgomery catcher Armando Araiza singled to right field in the seventh inning to start a two-run rally that put the Biscuits on top, 3-1.

After Araiza’s hit, Montgomery got three more in a row to knock Stephens from the game. Araiza crossed home plate for the first run of the inning when Biscuits center fielder Braxton Lee singled on a bunt back to the mound. Montgomery second baseman Kean Wong then hit a groundball into left field to drive in first baseman Pat Blair.

The Biscuits padded that lead in the eighth inning when Araiza hit a grounder back to the mound that Pensacola reliever Jacob Ehret threw away, allowing third baseman Juniel Querecuto to score for a 4-1 Montgomery lead.

Montgomery had scored first in the bottom of the first inning to go up, 1-0, when DH Jake Bauers singled to right field to drive in Lee, who started the inning with a single.

Pensacola had knotted the score, 1-1, in the second inning when first baseman Ray Chang scored on a passed ball after leading off the inning with a walk. Chang led the Blue Wahoos at the plate getting two hits in three at bats and walking once to raise his average to .275.

The Blue Wahoos, though, went 0-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight Pensacola runners on base.

In the sixth inning, Pensacola loaded the bases with two outs but failed to score.

Stephens ended up working 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, giving up one walk, and striking out six. He fell to 6-10 with a 3.39 earned-run average.

Montgomery starter Brent Honeywell lasted five innings, and gave up one unearned run on four hits and two walks, while striking out six. He did not figure in the decision but his ERA now stands at 1.21.

Pensacola, the first half Southern League champions, dropped to 16-17 in the second half. Montgomery improved to 20-13 and lead the North Division.

Wahoos Over Biscuits 3-1

July 28, 2016

Four Pensacola pitchers combined to limit Montgomery to one run and Phillip Ervin delivered the clutch hit to help the Blue Wahoos win, 3-1, Wednesday over the Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium.

Pensacola starting pitcher Rookie Davis, who struck out the side in the second inning, ended up working 5.1 innings, allowing one run on a homer by Montgomery second baseman Paul Blair. He gave up five hits and two walks with six strikeouts total. He improved to a team-best 9-3 with and lowered his earned run average of 2.62.

Meanwhile, relievers Abel De Los Santos, Carlos Gonzalez and Alejandro Chacin threw 3.2 scoreless and hitless innings, while striking out four.

Like he has done all season for Pensacola, Chacin took over and tossed a scoreless ninth inning getting Montgomery out 1-2-3 with a strikeout to earn his 20th save this year, which leads the Southern League. He has struck out 49 batters in 44.1 innings.

Meanwhile, Pensacola left fielder Phillip Ervin stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth inning. In 87 previous at bats with two outs Ervin was hitting .195. He singled to center field in the fifth inning and drove in catcher Chad Wallach and center fielder Beau Amaral to put his team up, 3-0, over Montgomery.

His clutch hit made him 1-4 on the night. Six of the Blue Wahoos nine hitters got one hit Wednesday.

Pensacola scored first in the fourth inning when the hot-hitting shortstop Zach Vincej tripled in Brandon Dixon, who had singled to center field, with two out to put the Blue Wahoos up, 1-0.

Vincej went 1-4 and is hitting .346 and has an on-base percentage of .400 in July, which are both his highest marks this season. He also has 11 RBIs this month, which is highest total.

Montgomery did get on the board when Blair, who was batting ninth in the lineup and averaging .168, lifted a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull the Biscuits within, 3-1.

Chih-Wei Hu pitched six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three. He fell to 3-7 with 2.34 ERA. Hu and two Biscuits’ relievers — Kyle Bird and Jordan Harrison — retired 12 in a row until Pensacola first baseman Eric Jagielo earned a walk in the ninth inning.

Pensacola improved to 24-27 on the road. The first half Southern League champions are now back to .500 at 16-16 in the second half and in third place 2.5 games behind the Mississippi Braves (18-13). Montgomery fell to 19-12 but still leads the North Division.

Montgomery Biscuits Roll To 10-5 Victory Over The Blue Wahoos

July 27, 2016

The Montgomery Biscuits welcomed the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium by jumping out to a 10-1 lead.

The Biscuits knocked out usually reliable starter Tyler Mahle by scoring eight runs against him in his 4.2 innings of work and went on to win, 10-5, Tuesday.

Montgomery benefited from two two-run home runs by right fielder Justin Williams in the third inning and shortstop Willy Adames in the fifth inning off of Mahle. Mahle fell to 5-2, allowing nine of Montgomery’s 11 hits, walking. two and striking out one.

Pensacola fell to 23-27 on the road. The first half Southern League champions are now 15-16 in the second half. Montgomery improved to 19-12 and leads the North Division.

Montgomery didn’t take long to start rolling. DH Cade Gotta led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and came around to score on shortstop Adames ground out to third base to put the Biscuits up, 1-0. Adames was 2-4, scored twice and knocked in three runs.

Biscuits left fielder Granden Goetzman doubled to start the second inning and reached third on a wild pitch. Montgomery Williams then smashed a homer to left center to bring in Goetzman for a 3-0 lead.

Montgomery center fielder Braxton Lee doubled and went to third on an errant throw by Mahle trying to pick him off. Second baseman Thomas Coyle then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Braxton and put Montgomery ahead, 4-0.

Pensacola finally got on the board in the third inning to pull within, 4-1, when catcher Chad Wallach singled to third base and then Alex Blandino singled to shortstop.  Both first baseman Jake Bauer and Adames were charged with throwing errors on the play to make the run unearned.

It was the only run that Montgomery starter Taylor Guerrieri would give up to Pensacola in six innings to improve to 11-4 becoming the first pitcher in the Southern League to 11 wins. He gave up four hits, one walk and struck out five.

Montgomery tacked on another run in the fourth when Goetzman tripled and was driven in by Williams single to right field for a 5-1 lead.

The Biscuits extended its lead in the fifth inning to 7-1 on a two-run homer to left center by Adames that also scored third baseman Kean Wong. Williams then doubled on a pop up to left field that deflected off of Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej’s glove and scored Goetzman to go ahead, 8-1.

Vincej went 2-2 with a walk, and is now batting .333 in July, his best monthly average this season.

Montgomery scored two more runs in the seventh inning to make the score, 10-1. Williams smacked a line drive to center filed that scored both Adames and Bauers.

Pensacola finally broke out with four runs in the eighth inning to pull within, 10-5. Blue Wahoos right fielder Sebastian Elizalde singled in Blandino. Pensacola third baseman Taylor Sparks, who was 2-5, Tuesday scored on a wild pitch after a single to center.  Blue Wahoos left fielder Jeff Gelalich singled to center to score Elizalde. The fourth and final run crossed the plate when DH Brandon Dixon, who had walked, scored on a wild pitch.

In the ninth inning, Pensacola loaded the bases with one out, but Montgomery closer Jeff Ames came in and faced Brandon Dixon, who popped out to the catcher, and Jeff Gelalich, who struck out, to end the threat. Batters are now, 0-10, against Ames with the bases loaded.

FWC Offering Hunter Safety Internet Completion Class In Molino

July 25, 2016

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety internet-completion course this month in Molino.

The course will be held July 27 from 6-10 p.m. and July 30 from 7-10 a.m. at the Molino Community Center at 6450 Highway 95A in Molino.

Students who have taken the online course and wish to complete the classroom portion must bring the online-completion report with them.

All firearms, ammunition and materials are provided free of charge. Students should bring a pen or pencil and paper. An adult must accompany children younger than 16 at all times.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

Those interested in attending a course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in Panama City at (850) 265-3676.

Shuckers Shutout Blue Wahoos

July 25, 2016

Despite managing only two hits Sunday, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos still had a chance to tie or win the game in the ninth inning, trailing the Biloxi Shuckers by one run.

However, after Pensacola catcher Chad Wallach hit a leadoff double to start the ninth, Biloxi closer Stephen Kohlscheen set the next three batters down in order for his 12th save to nail down the Shuckers, 1-0, victory.

It was the least Kohlscheen could do after Brandon Woodruff gave the sellout Blue Wahoos crowd of 5,038 a gutty performance. He missed his last start because his brother, Blake, died in an ATV accident Friday, July 15.

Woodruff improved to 5-6 with a 3.65 ERA by allowing one hit and striking out nine in six innings. He started the game by striking out the side and had a perfect game until Pensacola right fielder Sebastian Elizalde got a hit to lead off the fifth inning.

Pensacola starter Barrett Astin set down 15 of the 16 batters he faced in five innings of work. The only hit he gave up was a two-out solo shot belted by — who else? — Woodruff on a “cutter that didn’t cut.” It was Woodruff’s first professional home run.

“I’ve known Woody for six or seven years now,” said Astin, who has now gone14.2 innings without giving up a walk. “The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t ask more out of him. He was probably high on adrenalin. That was good to see.”

In his sixth spot starts this season, Astin is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly was well aware that Woodruff was pitching just after his brother died. His brother’s last tweet was about Brandon’s season-high 10 strikeout game July 13 that earned him the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week honor.

“That’s an amazing thing for me that he was pitching with a heavy heart,” Kelly said. “It was a really incredible feat.”

Woodruff has now given up four hits in 13 innings to Pensacola and struck out 19. Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero said Woodruff was begging to pitch the seventh but was replaced with Shuckers reliever Steve Peterson.

During both of Pensacola’s losses in this five-game series to Biloxi, the Blue Wahoos earned only two hits each game and combined for 28 strikeouts.

“He has got great stuff — a 97-mile-per-hour fastball, a really good slider and a changeup,” Kelly said. “I want to know what he’s doing in this league.”

Pensacola, though, won its second straight series at home in the second half and have now won nine of 10 this season. It is 15-15 in the second half and 56-44 overall.

The Blue Wahoos ended up winning 11 of 15 home games against the Shuckers this season.

Wahoos Beat Biloxi 7-3

July 24, 2016

Blue Wahoos down Shuckers, 7-3, to clinch series.

Pensacola right fielder Sebastian Elizalde has struggled at the plate in the second half but Saturday he looked like his old self, smashing a two-run homer over the right field fence in the first inning.

Elizalde also finished the game with four RBIs, while starting pitcher Sal Romano limited Biloxi to three hits to lead Pensacola to a 7-3 victory Saturday in front of its 23rd sellout of 5,038 this at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

The former Mexican League player now has four homers and 30 RBIs and saw his batting average reverse its steady fall and go up four points to .270 in his first season in Double-A for Pensacola. He was 2-4 with two runs scored and it was his third game this season that he’s knocked in four runs.

“I always say baseball is the same everywhere,” Elizalde said. “A lot from Mexico come to states. We have a chance. We have to just try to enjoy it.”

The 24-year-old Elizalde signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2013 and is playing in his third season in the minors. He started his baseball career with four seasons in the Mexican League for the Sultanes de Monterrey.

In bottom of first inning, Elizalde got all of a fastball rocketing it over the right field wall for a two-out, two-run homer. His fourth dinger of the season also scored Alex Blandino who singled on a ground ball to left field.

Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej then drove in the third run of the first inning on a line drive that bounced off the left field wall, allowing Pensacola third baseman Taylor Sparks to score from first and give the team a 3-0 lead.

Elizalde hit a line drive to the wall in the left center gap for a stand up double in the third inning that drove in left fielder Jeff Gelalich to put Pensacola up, 4-0. Sparks then clobbered a grounder past the third baseman to score Elizalde to make the score, 5-0.

Elizalde came through one more time in the seventh inning when his ground out to second base scored Blandino to give Pensacola a 7-1 lead.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said Elizalde has always played well on offense and worked hard to improve his fielding. He said he could see Elizalde playing one of the corner outfield spots for the Reds one day.

“To me, he has always hit wherever he’s gone,” Kelly said.

Part of that, Elizalde said, is being able to clown around with his teammates to stay relaxed.

“We have to have fun and enjoy it, ‘cause baseball is a game,” he said. “There’s no pressure. It’s a game. Enjoy it.”

Elizalde also gave kudos to Pensacola starting pitcher Sal Romano.

In 11 starts, Romano, the Cincinnati Reds’ 23rd round draft pick in 2011, lost nine games before blanking Biloxi over seven innings for his second win of the season on July 12. He picked up his third win of the season (3-10, 4.25) by limiting Biloxi to one unearned run on three hits and two walks, while striking out three in 5.2 innings.

His three strikeouts gave him 100 for the season in 103.2 innings, making him the first Southern League pitcher to reach the mark.

Romano gave way to Pensacola relief pitcher Abel De Los Santos, who earned a save in his first Blue Wahoos appearance, with the bases loaded in the sixth. De Los Santos blew two fastballs in the low-90s past catcher Rene Garcia and then caught him looking on a 76 mph fastball.

“Those are two power arms right there,” Kelly said about Romano and De Los Santos. “When you have a breaking ball that good (like De Los Santos) and a 94 mph fastball you have a little bit of escapeability.”

Kelly said, too, that Romano has been a better pitcher than the one in the first half.

“He’s changed his pregame preparation and we’ve seen a big change in the second half,” Kelly said.

Pensacola improved to 15-14 in the second half and the first half South Division champions are 56-43 overall. Biloxi fell to 10-18 in the second half and 50-49 on the season.

Biloxi Beats The Wahoos

July 23, 2016

The Biloxi Shuckers got the better of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos lineup Friday, allowing just two hits in a 3-2 victory over Pensacola in front of 4,612 fans at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The Shuckers snapped a five-game losing streak with the win.

The Blue Wahoos had the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning and were down by just one run with its leading home run hitter, Brandon Dixon, at the plate.

However, he whiffed, and Pensacola was unable to extend its franchise record eight walk-offs to nine in the ninth inning, going down 1-2-3.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he had confidence Dixon would get a hit.

“I’ll take my chances with Dixon and the bases loaded,” Kelly said. “The eighth inning was a huge chance to win the game.”

But the best chance in the game to score for the Blue Wahoos, who earned just two hits in the game, was a missed opportunity. Dixon is now 1-7 with three strikeouts this season with the bases loaded.

Pensacola dropped to 14-14 in the second half and the first half South Division champions are 55-43 overall.

Biloxi starting lefty Wei-Chung Wang started the game by striking out the first five Blue Wahoos hitters he faced. He ended up striking out a career-high nine in 6.1 innings. He gave up just two hits and one walk and allowed one run on a solo blast by Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson.

Wang has now won three of four games against Pensacola this season. The native of Taiwan improved to 5-5 in 17 starts for the Shuckers and lowered his ERA to 3.61.

“He’s very deceptive,” Kelly said. “He changes speeds. His fastball ranges from 87-to-94 (mph). I don’t think he gets the credit for being very good. He has better stuff than people think.”

Meanwhile, Jackson Stephens, who dropped to 6-9 this year, also threw a solid start. He gave up two solo homers among seven hits allowed, walked two and struck out four in six innings pitched.

“Two solo home runs usually don’t beat you,” Kelly said.

One of those homers was by center fielder Brett Phillips, who snapped a 0-27 skid Friday, by going 3-5 with a run scored, stolen base and two RBIs. He also hit a two-out single in the seventh to drive in left fielder Johnny Davis for Biloxi’s third run of the game. The other homer was hit by second baseman Tom Belza.

“He’s a good hitter,” Kelly said about Phillips. “You’re not going to hold him down forever. He made some adjustments. He widened his stance with two strikes. Now, we have to make some adjustments to him.”

Pensacola took advantage of four walks in the eighth inning. Blue Wahoos center fielder Beau Amaral drove in the only other run on a sacrifice fly near the warning track in center field with the bases loaded that scored right fielder Jeff Gelalich and advanced the other two runners on base.

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