Ernest Ward Middle Topples Jay, 22-20

August 28, 2015

Ernest Ward Middle School opened their football season with a 22-20 win over the Jay Royals Thursday night in Walnut Hill. The EWMS Eagles will travel to T.R. Miller on September 3.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Tonight’s HS Football Schedule

August 28, 2015

Here is a look at tonight’s high school football game schedule:


  • Biloxi at Tate, 7:30 p.m.
  • Northview at Crestview, 7 p.m.
  • Jay at Flomaton, 7 p.m.
  • Escambia at West Florida, 7 p.m.
  • Washington at Milton, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pine Forest at PHS, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gulf Breeze at Choctaw, 7 p.m.
  • Pace at Fort Walton, 7:30 p.m.
  • Catholic at Navarre, 7 p.m.


  • Jay at Flomaton, 7 p.m.
  • W.S. Neal at Escambia County (Atmore), 7 p.m.
  • T.R. Miller at Tallassee, 7 p.m.
  • Autauga Academy at Escambia Academy, 7 p.m.


Northview Fans ‘Meet The Chiefs’ (With Gallery)

August 28, 2015

Northview High School’s Quarterback Club held a “Meet the Chiefs” event Thursday evening, giving fans a chance to get to know the team prior to the start of the regular season Friday night. Fans also had a chance to meet the cheerleaders and dance team. The Chiefs will travel to Crestview Friday night to take on the Bulldogs in a non-district game.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Rally, Up 1.5 Games In South Division

August 28, 2015

All second half of the Southern League season, left fielder Jesse Winker came through with a big hit when Pensacola needed it.

Winker’s last one — a double in the right field corner in the eighth inning — was the biggest and came under the most pressure.

It not only cleared the loaded bases by driving in three runs to catapult the Blue Wahoos back into the lead, 9-8, over the Mississippi Braves, it put Pensacola 1.5 games up on the Braves in the race for the playoffs in the second half of the Southern League’s South Division.

By the end of the eighth inning, Pensacola had scored five runs and beat Mississippi, 11-8, and received a standing ovation from its 23rd sellout of 5,038 Thursday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Pensacola improved to 34-26 in the second half and remained in sole possession of first place, while Mississippi fell to 32-27.

With 10 games left in the season, this is the latest Pensacola has been in first place since July 22, 2012 in its first season.

Winker said he was looking for a fastball to hit deep and at least get a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. Instead, he ripped a line drive to reach base all five times he came to bat. Winker was 2-2 with a double, four RBIs, three runs and walked three times. The last time he got on base five times was on June 11, 2014 for the Bakersfield Blaze.

“How sweet,” said Winker, who was drenched with water by his teammates after the game. “It was unbelievable with the playoff atmosphere, plus PK’s (manager Pat Kelly) birthday. It was real cool. It was a real fun game to be a part of.”

Winker has hit in 18 of his 23 games this month. He is hitting .367 (29-79) in August and .312 in the second half. The Cincinnati Reds top prospect currently holds the Pensacola Triple Crown, leading the team with 13 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .278 batting average.

In top of the fifth inning with Pensacola leading, 4-1, the video board flashed birthday wishes to Pensacola manager Pat Kelly, who turned 60 Thursday. One photo was him with a mustache during his minor league playing days and the other a shot from this season. He tipped his cap to the crowd and smiled.

However, Mississippi scored five runs after that in the fifth. Braves right fielder KD Kang came through with a three-run homer to left to knot the game, 4-4. Kang has reached base in 29 straight road games this year, the longest streak in the Southern League this season.

Then, the Braves second baseman Levi Hyams drove in two more runs on a line drive over the head of Pensacola center fielder Phillip Ervin to put Mississippi ahead, 6-4.

Mississippi added two more runs to go ahead, 8-4, in the seventh inning when Pensacola shortstop Alex Blandino threw wide of first base trying to turn a double play that allowed the Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz and catcher Matt Kennelly to score.

Pensacola entered the game 3-56 when trailing in the seventh inning.

“It was fantastic,” Kelly said of Pensacola’s rally in the eighth inning to win the game. “We were dead in the water. I thought, ‘Man, we are really in trouble.’”

But right fielder Juan Duran laced a low line drive single to centerfield with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning to bring home Blandino and Winker and pull the Blue Wahoos within, 8-6. He ended up going 2-4 with a three-run home run for five RBIs on the night.

Duran’s homer in the third inning was Pensacola’s 16th dinger in 24 games. After hitting just 25 home runs in the first half, the Blue Wahoos have clobbered 76 home runs on the season, which is third best in the Southern League.

Winker and Kelly both expressed optimism about making the playoffs with a series against the Jackson Generals in Tennessee and then its final homestand against Mobile at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

“We are all locked in on what we can do to win,” Winker said. “It’s something special to be a part of. I hope we go there (to Jackson) and take five.”

Kelly said beating Mississippi in a five-game series for the first time this season is huge.

“This puts us in a great position by winning it,” Kelly said. “It takes us to the Jackson series with some momentum. We’re going into that series in good spirits.”

Wahoos Move Into First Place

August 27, 2015

Cody Reed held the Mississippi Braves to one run and struck out eight in six innings of work as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos won, 3-1, Wednesday night to move into first place in the second half of South Division play in the Southern League.

Wednesday night, Reed showed the 4,201 Blue Wahoos fans at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium what he’s made of. In the battle to make the playoffs, Reed retired nine Mississippi Braves in a row at one point.

On the road, Reed has a 3-0 record and 0.41 earned-run average. At home? Reed was 0-2, lasting just 7.2 innings with an 11.74 ERA.

Pensacola improved to 33-26 in the second half and sole possession of first place, while Mississippi fell to 32-26.

Reed said he knew he lacked his usual good stuff but wasn’t about to let the Braves have a big inning. He struggled early throwing 60 pitches over the first three innings.

“It wasn’t my sharpest day but I got through six innings,” said Reed, who came to Pensacola from the Kansas City organization in a trade for the Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. “You just got to work through it. I love having that pressure of being the guy they give the ball to.”

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly, who turns 60 Thursday, said Reed’s six innings was exactly what the Blue Wahoos needed Wednesday against Mississippi. Reed improved to 4-2 with a 3.03 ERA.

“I had more guys in turf shoes than cleats tonight,” he said. “I love (Reed’s) stuff. He has a plus fastball with a plus slider. He really competes. He was upset he gave up one run.”

Pensacola scored first in the fourth inning when left fielder Jesse Winker walked and scored on right fielder Juan Duran’s fielder choice to go up, 1-0.

The Blue Wahoos added another in the next inning when Kyle Skipworth hit a shot to right field that was dropped for an error. He scored on Winker’s ground out to the first baseman for a 2-0 Pensacola lead.

But back-to-back doubles by Mississippi’s Keven Ahrens and Rio Ruiz brought the Braves within one run at, 2-1.

Pensacola, though, added an insurance run in the eighth inning to go up, 3-1, when shortstop Alex Blandino hit a rocket to centerfield for a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Marquez Smith.

Kelly said he’s glad to be in the hunt for a playoff spot with 11 games left in the season. The latest Pensacola has had sole possession of first place was July 22, 2012 in its first season.

“If you had told me in April or May that we would be here I would have told you that you were crazy,” Kelly said. “This is great. It’s nice being here at this point. We just gotta keep going.”

NHS To Hold Meet The Chiefs (With Bonus Cheerleader, Dance, Band Photos)

August 26, 2015

Northview High School will hold “Meet The Chiefs” Thursday at 7 p.m. Fans will have a chance to meet the football players and cheerleaders ahead of the regular season.

A meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. for parents of football players.

For cheerleader, dance, band and NJROTC photos, click here.

Pictured: The Northview band, cheerleaders, dance team and NJROTC from last Friday night. photos, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Beat The Braves

August 26, 2015

Thanks to Tim Adleman and the Pensacola defense, the Blue Wahoos pulled back within half a game of the Southern League South Division lead behind the Mississippi Braves.

Needing just one run, Adleman threw six scoreless innings and Pensacola held on for a, 1-0, victory over front-runner Mississippi in front of 4,222 Tuesday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

It was Adleman’s second, 1-0, victory over Mississippi with the last coming on June 27. In the second half of the season, Adleman is 7-2 with a 1.90 ERA after playing in the Southern League All-Star game. He improved to 9-8 with a Southern League-leading 2.12 ERA.

“I told you,” Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said. “We got him one and that was plenty. He wasn’t sharp today but he just battled and battled.”

Meanwhile, Pensacola closer Zack Weiss entered the game with one out in the eighth inning and earned a franchise record 23 saves, surpassing the 22 Shane Dyer saved last season.

“You give him the ball and you know the game is over,” Kelly said. “That’s a great feeling as a manager.”

Pensacola, playing in its first playoff race in franchise history, is now 32-26 and in sole possession of second place after dropping the first two games of the five-game series to Mississippi. The Braves are 32-25 in the second half. The Mobile BayBears lost to the Biloxi Shuckers and fell to 30-27 and third place.

The Blue Wahoos went ahead, 1-0, when first baseman Ray Chang scored with the bases loaded on a walk by shortstop Alex Blandino. The run stood up with great defense from the outfielders and crucial double plays. The squad has a league leading 153 double plays this season.

In the fifth inning, Mississippi pinch hitter Emerson Landoni hit a broken bat blooper that Pensacola center fielder Phillip Ervin charged and then threw the baseball on a rope to catcher Kyle Skipworth at home plate to nail the Braves’ Sean Godfrey trying to score.

In the eighth inning, Pensacola right fielder Juan Duran slid to catch a soft liner and it popped out of his glove. But he jumped up and threw Braves center fielder Matt Lipka out trying to reach second.

In the same inning, Weiss struck out Mississippi right fielder KD Kang and Skipworth caught second baseman Levi Hyams going to second. It was a boom, boom double play.

Both Adleman and Kevin Shackleford started double plays from the mound in the second and seventh innings, respectivelly.

For Kelly it was a routine day at the ball park.

“The key to our club is playing great defense,” Kelly said. “Our pitchers fielded their positions today. Whenever you can get two outs on one pitch, that’s huge.”

Weiss said he was happy to set the Pensacola record but even happier to pitch well in a game with playoff ramifications.

“It’s a pretty special experience,” the 23-year-old said. “When you’re competing for a playoff spot, every pitch is a big pitch in a series like this. The record is cool but tonight was pretty much a must win.”

Ernest Ward Middle Opens Football Season Thursday Night

August 25, 2015

The Ernest Ward Middle School Eagles have announced their 2015 football schedule. Play begins this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Ernest Ward as the Eagles host the Jay Royals.

The complete schedule is as follows, with all games scheduled for Thursdays at 6 p.m. -

August 27 -  Jay at EWMS
September 3 -  EWMS at T.R. Miller
September 10 – EWMS at W.S. Neal
September 17 – T.R. Miller at EWMS
September 24 – EWMS at Jay
October 1 – Escambia County (Atmore) at EWMS
October 8 – W.S. Neal at EWMS
October 15 – EWMS at Escambia County (Atmore)

Ernest Ward has the only public middle school football program in Escambia County.

Pictured: Ernest Ward Middle at Jay last season. file photos, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Drop Second Game To Mississippi Braves

August 25, 2015

In its first playoff race in franchise history, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos have turned over sole possession of first place to the Mississippi Braves by dropping its first two games to the visiting club.

The Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and 7-0 after three innings and cruised to a 9-4 victory in front of 3,555 fans Monday at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Highlights for the Blue Wahoos tonight included first baseman Marquez Smith’s driving a double into the right center alley in the third inning that scored two runs, pulling Pensacola within, 7-2.

In addition, Pensacola catcher Kyle Skipworth also hit homer No. 11 of the year in the eighth inning — his first since Aug. 6 — as the Blue Wahoos trailed, 9-4.

Mississippi, which took back first place in the Southern League South Division Sunday, is now 32-24. Meanwhile, Pensacola dropped to 1.5 games behind Mississippi, falling to 31-26. The Mobile BayBears also fell back 1.5 games to the Braves at 30-25, after losing in 11 innings at MGM Park.

Pensacola has 12 games left this season and play both Mississippi and the Mobile BayBears at home.

Blue Wahoos Manager Pat Kelly said that Mississippi has been hard for Pensacola to defend this season. They knocked 14 hits Monday.

“We could have 18 guys on the field and couldn’t catch the balls that they hit,” Kelly said. “It was one of those nights where they shot the ball in the hole between first and second or blooped it into right field.”

Mississippi jumped in front, 3-0, in the first inning off of Pensacola starter Sal Romano. Leadoff batter shortstop Emerson Landoni doubled to the right field corner and center fielder Mycal Jones followed with a double to the right center field gap to score him for a 1-0 lead.

Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz then clobbered a ball deep to center field that Pensacola center fielder Phillip Ervin ran back on but the ball bounced off his glove. Ruiz reached third, driving in Jones and right fielder KD Kang, who had walked to put the Braves ahead, 3-0.

Landoni led the Braves by going 3-5 with a double and two RBIs and lifting his season average to .295.

Reds top prospect Jesse Winker now has a hit in 15 of his 20 games this month. Winker is hitting .347 (25-72) in August with six homers and 12 RBIs

He raised his average in the second half to .302 (55-182) with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. Winker’s two walks Monday also raised his on-base percentage to .403 (85-211) in the second half.

Kelly said Winker has really come on down the stretch.

“He has been our most consistent hitter the last three months of the year,” he said.

Pensacola center fielder Phillip Ervin, the Reds No. 9 prospect, also played well Monday, going 2-3 with a double and RBI and walking twice. In five games with the Blue Wahoos, he is 6-15 or batting .400, with two doubles, two homers and four RBIs.

Pensacola Falls To Mississippi

August 24, 2015

It was Princess Night at the ballpark and all the Pensacola Blue Wahoos wished for was its first dance at the ball – the playoffs that is.

In its first game in franchise history with post season implications, Pensacola didn’t get its fairytale ending Monday.

Despite Phillip Ervin slugging his second home run in two games, the Mississippi Braves held on in the opener of the five-game series for a 3-1 win in front of 4,357 fans, including several little “Frozen” princesses, at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Mississippi took back first place in the South Division over Pensacola by a half game in the second half of the Southern League season. The Braves, who have recorded a better second-half record than first-half record the past seven seasons, are now 31-24 and Pensacola is 31-25.

Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly said with 14 games left this season and Pensacola playing both Mississippi and the Mobile BayBears at home, he knows the Blue Wahoos can qualify for the playoffs.

“We just have to win every series,” he said. “It’s a pretty simple formula.”

Mississippi starter Lucas Sims was coming off a 1-0 victory in which he threw 5.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball against the Birmingham Barons.

Throwing a steady stream of 90-plus mph fastballs against Pensacola, Sims allowed just three hits and recorded a season-high 10 strike outs against the Blue Wahoos. His only run was on Ervin’s solo blast.

The Braves’ Sims improved to 3-2 this season with a 4.19 ERA and now has allowed just two runs in his last 17.1 innings for a 1.06 earned-run average.

“Sims pitched a helluva game,” Kelly said. “He had really good stuff.”

Meanwhile, Pensacola starter Daniel Wright also gave the Blue Wahoos a strong outing, throwing seven innings and allowing three earned runs on six hits, while striking out seven Braves batters. The right-hander retired the first seven Mississippi batters he faced, striking out four, all on off-speed pitches.

“He pitched seven innings for us and allowed us to rest our bullpen a bit,” Kelly said. “That was good. He did a great job, he just had that little hiccup there in the fourth inning.”

Mississippi scored first getting three in the fourth. Braves second baseman Levi Hyams scored on a ground out and third baseman Rio Ruiz hit a two-out, two-run line drive over the left field wall to put Mississippi ahead, 3-0.

Ervin, the Cincinnati Reds No. 9 prospect according to MLB, hit two of Pensacola’s three hits off Sims. He went 2-3 with a double and solo blast to left field in the fourth inning Sunday that pulled Pensacola within, 3-1, of Mississippi.

He had four hits in a row between his third and fourth games in Double-A – two of them home runs. Ervin has 14 home runs and 66 RBIs this season counting his numbers for the High-A Daytona Tortugas.

Ervin said he’s relaxing more at the plate after going 0-5 in his first two games and 4-7 with a double, two homers and three RBIs in the last two.

“I like it right now,” Ervin said, chuckling, about Double-A pitching. “I was putting pressure on myself to get that first hit. Once I got it, I’ve been able to relax and have a little more fun.”

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