Wahoos Blast Past Suns 8-4

August 20, 2014

Kyle Waldrop’s first-inning two-run home run was a sign of things to come for the Blue Wahoos on Tuesday night. It was the first of a team-record five Pensacola home runs in an 8-4 win over Jacksonville at the Baseball Ground of Jacksonville.

Waldrop hit a solo home run later in the game for his second of the contest. Wahoos starting pitcher Ben Lively got in on the act with a lead-off homer in the fifth. Leading just 5-4 in the ninth, the Wahoos belted two more round-trippers. Yorman Rodriguez led the inning off with a solo shot before Travis Mattair capped a 3-for-3 night with a two-run shot to put the game away.

Lively (W, 2-6) was solid again on the mound in his start. He battled through 6.0 innings allowing 3 R/ER on eight hits with just one walk and six strikeouts. It marked his fourth straight start allowing just one walk. He didn’t walk fewer than three in his first seven starts with Pensacola.

Lively was helped out by a stellar defensive play by Bryson Smith in fourth inning. Smith robbed what would have been a go-ahead three-run home run from Isaac Galloway. He leaped and reached over the five-foot wall in right field to make a game-saving catch, which kept the Wahoos in front.

The Suns threatened again and pulled within a run in the eighth inning before Shane Dyer (S, 17) came in to get the final four outs and earn the save for the Wahoos.

Suns starter Chipper Smith (L, 3-4) left the game with an apparent injury after facing just four batters and getting only one out. His injury hasn’t been released. Smith ended up getting hit with the loss after giving up 2 R/ER in 0.1 innings. The Blue Wahoos scored 3 R/ER off James Nygren in his 4.1 innings. They also scored 3 R/ER off Matt Ramsey in his 1.2 innings out of the bullpen.

Pensacola can even the series with a win on Wednesday night as the Blue Wahoos try to spoil the Suns postseason plans. The Wahoos will send RHP Robert Stephenson (6-8, 4.48) to the mound against Suns LHP Justin Nicolino (11-4, 2.85).  First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. CT from Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

by Tommy Thrall

Wahoos Squander Lead Late, Fall 6-5 To Jacksonville

August 19, 2014

The Wahoos took a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning, but Jacksonville scored four times against Blue Wahoos reliever Ben Klimesh (L, 1-1) on their way to a 6-5 win Monday night at the Baseball Ground of Jacksonville.

Pensacola was helped by a 4-for-5 night from Yorman Rodriguez at the plate to take a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but the resilient Suns, battling for the top spot of the Southern League South, rallied for a run in the seventh and four in the eighth. Rodriguez hit a mammoth two-run home run in the seventh to cap the Wahoos scoring before Jacksonville rallied.

The comeback spoiled a great spot start from Wahoos right-hander Tim Adleman. After pitching two innings on Saturday, Adleman worked 5.0 shutout innings against the Suns allowing just four hits and adding three strikeouts. He ended up with a no-decision. Klimesh suffered his first loss for the Wahoos allowing the four go-ahead runs in his only inning of work. He walked two and allowed four hits in the eighth.

The Suns got two solid innings in relief from Collin Cargil (W, 4-1). He struck out two and didn’t allow any walks, hits or runs on his way to the win. Nick Wittgren (S, 18) shut the door on Pensacola with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.

The Blue Wahoos have dropped three straight, but continue to try to spoil the Suns postseason hopes on Tuesday night. Gulf Breeze native RHP Ben Lively (1-6, 3.54) will start for Pensacola against Suns LHP Chipper Smith (3-3, 4.02). First pitch is schedule for 5:05 p.m. CT.

Wahoos Shut Out 4-0 In Series Opener

August 18, 2014

Despite a strong start from Daniel Corcino, the Wahoos were shut out by Jose Urena and the Jacksonville Suns 4-0 on Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Suns took the lead in the third when Austin Barnes doubled home Austin Nola from first base with one out. They cruised from then on adding an insurance run against Corcino in the seventh and scoring two more in the eighth to put the game away.

The Wahoos biggest threat came in sixth. Pensacola put runners at second and third with only one, out but couldn’t score.

Corcino kept the Wahoos in the game over his seven strong innings on the mound. He allowed just three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. The right-hander retired the Suns in order three times but Pensacola couldn’t provide him any offensive support.

Urena was outstanding on the mound for the Suns. He held the Blue Wahoos to just one hit over his first five innings. Yorman Rodriguez led the game off with a single for Pensacola, and the Wahoos didn’t get another hit until Brodie Greene’s double with one out in the sixth inning.  Urena earned the win after working 7.0 shutout innings. He allowed just three hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Pensacola will try to even the series on Monday night in Jacksonville. RHP Tim Adleman (3-6, 3.10) is expected to start for Pensacola against Suns starter RHP Jay Rogers (6-5, 4.06). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m.

by Tommy Thrall

Century Softball Tourney Benefits Chiefs Football

August 17, 2014

The Northview High School Quarterback Club held a double elimination coed softball tournament Saturday at Showalter Park in Century. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Northview Chiefs football program.

For more photos, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Bethany Reynolds, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Lose 3-0, Drop Series With Mobile

August 17, 2014

The 140 game Southern League season is down to the last 15 games for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields said win or lose he just wants to see the team continue to play hard.

Saturday night, they had the bases loaded in the seventh inning with no outs and they reached base every inning but couldn’t score, falling to rival Mobile, 3-0, in front of a 5,038-sellout crowd at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

“We couldn’t get the big hit tonight,” DeShields said. “But I think we’re playing hard. My biggest concern is not the wins or losses, my concern is the effort. I just want to see them keep playing hard.”

Pensacola’s best opportunity came in the seventh inning when center fielder Yorman Rodriguez had a lead off walk, Brodie Greene hit a bloop single to right field and Kyle Waldrop walked.

That’s when Mobile reliever Seth Simmons came in. All he did was strikeout the next three batters on nine pitches. Pensacola batters are now 6-for-52 against Simmons, or a .115 batting average.

“We were over swinging,” DeShields said. “He didn’t throw a lot of strikes but we got greedy. If we were patient a lot of at bats would have changed.”

Pensacola first baseman Travis Mattair was the first one to go down swinging against Simmons in the seventh. But otherwise had a good series going 7-for-20 (.350) against Mobile’s top pitching with one home run and 6 RBI. He’s raised his season average to .237 after struggling much of the year.

“You just have to keep working hard and stay positive,” Mattair said. “We’re playing good baseball. We just have to keep having fun and stay together as a unit.”

The BayBears showed why their pitching staff has a league leading 3.22 ERA, Saturday. Archie Bradley, who is the No. 1 pitching prospect in all of the minor leagues, according to Baseball America, shut Pensacola out over four innings. He gave up four hits, four walks and struck out three. In his last outing against Pensacola, the Wahoos chased Bradley with seven runs in 2.2 innings.

Mobile moved to 32-21, which is good for first place in the second half and is 74-48 overall. The BayBears are attempting to become just the second team in the Southern League’s 50-year history to win four consecutive halves.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos start a five-game series against the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate the Jacksonville Suns at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. RHP Daniel Corcino (10-10, 4.21) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the Suns RHP Jose Urena (10-8, 3.64).

The Wahoos return for their last homestand of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays Double-A affiliate the Montgomery Biscuits.

Wahoos Even Series With Mobile

August 16, 2014

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos saved their best game for last in front of Cincinnati Reds Bill Bavasi, who was in town to evaluate the players firsthand.

Bavasi oversees Cincinnati’s scouting, player development and international operations and looked on as the Reds’ Double-A affiliate romped to an 8-3 victory over its archrival Mobile BayBears – the top team in the Southern League.

Bavasi’s assessment? He gives Pensacola, its club, ballpark and fans all high marks.

“This place is terrific. It’s off the charts,” he said. “This league is full of guys who have great tools and are on their way up. This is a great city and a terrific place to play.”

One of those Wahoos players the Reds have an eye on is its top prospect Robert Stephenson who started Friday’s game. Stephenson earned the win and is now 6-8 on the year. He went five innings, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out five to retake the Southern League lead with 121 on the season.

Stephenson, who left the game after the fifth inning and 88 pitches because his right calf started cramping, said there’s no added pressure when a front office executive like Bavasi pays a visit.

“They have videos and are watching every game any way,” he said. “It didn’t concern me. I just wanted to pitch the way I’m supposed to pitch.”

The hard throwing righty bounced back from his last start when he allowed five runs and nine hits in just 2.1 innings.

“I felt great,” Stephenson said. “I felt my struggles lately have just been mental. I told myself I was going to get everyone out and I was just better than them. It seemed to help me.”

Blue Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields reminded his players of one important lesson.

“They’ve been evaluated all along,” he said. “It comes down to how the guys finished, not how they started. They are all still playing hard. I appreciate the effort they’re giving.”

Stephenson, outfielder Jesse Winker (No. 2), starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen (No. 4) and starting pitcher Ben Lively (No. 6) are all among the Reds top 10 prospects in their organization, according to MLB.com. In addition, starting pitcher Daniel Corcino is ranked No. 12, outfielder Yorman Rodriguez No. 13 and starting pitcher Jon Moscot No. 16.

Bevasi said while Stephenson and Winker get all the kudos as the top two prospects, a lot of other players have a chance to play for the Reds in the coming years. Winker has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a sprained right wrist.

“Robert (Stephenson) has developed well and this is a good place for him to get challenged,” Bevasi said. “We wish Jesse (Winker) wasn’t hurt. We’d like to see him get more at bats. But the guys who are written up are not always the ones who end up playing in the Major Leagues.”

And Blue Wahoos players who have the best chance of joining Cincinnati’s starting lineup? All Bevasi revealed is, “I like them all.”

In Friday’s game, the players most fans liked best were leftfielder Juan Silverio, who clubbed a solo homer in the sixth, and first baseman Travis Mattair, who blasted a three-run home run in the seventh inning that put Pensacola up, 8-1.

GAME NOTES

The finale of the five-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears (73-48) gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-5, 2.98) takes the mound for the Wahoos (53-71) and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP Archie Bradley (2-2, 3.77).

by Tommy Thrall

Northview, EWMS Showcase Cross Country Programs With ‘Glow Run’

August 15, 2014

Northview High and Ernest Ward Middle schools’ cross country programs hosted a community “glow run” Thursday in Bratt. The event ended just after dark, with runners wearing glow sticks, glow bracelets and other glow in the dark items.

The run gave students and their parents a chance to learn about and sign up for the cross country programs at both schools. For more information about the Northview Cross Country team contact Coach Natalie Nall at nnelson@escambia.k12.fl.us, or for more information about the Ernest Ward Cross Country team, contact Coach Betty Coon at bcoon@escambia.k12.fl.us.

The first scheduled meet for Northview is September 16 at Brewton Middle School. The first home meet will be September 23 at Northview.

Pictured: A community “glow run” Thursday evening at Travis Nelson Park in Bratt. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Win 2-1 Over Rival Mobile BayBears

August 15, 2014

Hometown prospect Ben Lively remains winless in front of his friends and family at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

But that doesn’t matter as long as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos starter keeps pitching like he did Thursday night. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty shut out the Mobile BayBears over six innings, allowed just three hits and struck out seven.

What matters to Lively is his team pulled out a win in the 11th inning, 2-1, against Southern League rival Mobile, which is 26 games over .500 with the best record in the South Division at 73-47.

Travis Mattair lead off the bottom of the 11th inning with a triple off the centerfield wall and the very next batter Devin Lohman drove him home with the winning run on a deep fly ball to right field.

A Gulf Breeze High School baseball standout Lively entered the game with a 0-4 record and 4.73 ERA. Afterwards his comment: “It’s a team sport. As long as we win, I don’t care.”

Pensacola Manager Delino DeShields said Thursday was one of Lively’s best performances in front of the home crowd.

“He was really good tonight,” DeShields said. “I wish we would have held the lead for him and gotten him the W.”

Lively’s had a bit of hard luck that his overall 1-6 record doesn’t explain. Consider this: When allowing two runs or less, which Lively has done in six of his 10 starts with Pensacola, Lively has 1 win, 2 losses and 3 no decisions. Plus, in half of his 10 starts, he’s allowed just three hits or less, with opposing hitters batting .196 against him.

Lively bounced back from his last home start against the Jackson Generals, he allowed five runs – the most all season – in six innings and struck out three batters – his fewest all season.

Mattair, who nearly won a bet that he would blast a homer, said playing at first base behind Lively on the mound is always exciting.

“He has just been lights out,” said Mattair, who has a home run, triple, three doubles and two singles in his last seven hits. “He has that mentality that he’s going to beat you.”

Lohman, wearing a collar of shaving cream, said he was just looking for a pitch to drive out of the infield, which was playing in. He let a first pitch fastball go by and was angry at himself before hitting the walk-off sacrifice fly. Like Lively, he just wanted to get a victory and end their two-game losing streak to Mobile.

“Lively is very intense and the kind of person who fires the team up,” Lohman said. “He plays to win. We’ve had a lot of close games against Mobile this year. It was good to get the win. ”

BLACKED OUT GAME RESUMES The first ever Pensacola Blue Wahoos game suspended because the ballpark lights went out Wednesday resumed Thursday. The BayBears were in the middle of a ninth-inning rally when the blackout happened and the game restarted with the bases loaded with one out and Mobile ahead, 4-3.

Mobile picked up where it left off, adding four more runs on two more hits to win the game, 8-3. In all over two nights, Mobile sent nine batters to the plate and scored six runs on six hits off Pensacola closer Shane Dyer, who had saved 12 games in a row. Dyer, who earned the loss to fall to 0-3, has only blown two saves in 18 tries.

It was the first time in 26 home games this season that the Wahoos lost after leading the game after eight innings.

During the day, Pensacola hired an electrical contractor who repaired a breaker in the malfunctioning lights on the first base side of the field.

GAME NOTES

The fourth game of the five-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears (73-47) gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Friday. RHP Robert Stephenson (5-8, 4.59) takes the mound for the Wahoos (52-71) and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears LHP Clayton Richard (0-0, 18.00).

by Tommy Thrall

The Night The Lights Went Out For The Wahoos

August 14, 2014

The Southern League rivalry between the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Mobile BayBears will be remembered Wednesday for the first ever game delay because the ballpark lights went out.

The field and fans sat in complete darkness for about 15 minutes in the top of the ninth inning, right in the middle of a Mobile rally. The BayBears had the bases loaded with one out after scoring two runs to go ahead, 4-3.

That’s when the lights on the first base side went out. When the lights came back on, the lights on the first base side did not return to full power.

As a result, the umpires suspended the game until 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The regularly scheduled game will start 30 minutes after the suspended game ends.

Blue Wahoos officials were still trying to figure out why the malfunction happened late Wednesday night.

Blue Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields said he has “never” experienced a suspended game because of the lights going out in his nearly 30 years of professional baseball.

“I’ve had the lights go out before temporarily but not to suspend a game,” DeShields said.

He said he doubts the blackout will effect the game’s outcome.

“I don’t think it will really matter much,” DeShields said. “The bases are loaded and one out. We’ll see what happens.”

Pensacola had comeback with three runs on five hits in the eighth inning to take the lead, 3-2. First baseman Travis Mattair pushed a single through to right field that scored Ryan Wright and Kyle Waldrop.

The third game of the five-game series with Arizona DiamondBacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. RHP Ben Lively (1-6, 3.96) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP A.J. Schugel (5-2, 3.43).

by Tommy Thrall

Mobile Homers Win Over The Blue Wahoos

August 13, 2014

Mobile BayBears hitters showed two-time U.S. Master’s champion Bubba Watson – one of the longest drivers off the tee on the PGA Tour – how to drive a baseball.

While Watson took a few big cuts in the batting cage before the game, it was Mobile that relied on the long ball to defeat Southern League rival Pensacola, 6-1, in the opener of the five-game series at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

The BayBears knocked two homers over the wall in left field and into the bay in the sixth inning for three runs to take a commanding, 5-1, lead.

Corcino entered the game with a 9-2 record at home with a 2.52 earned-run average. But Mobile knocked him out of the game in the sixth with a lead off home run by third baseman Brandon Drury just inside the foul pole. After right fielder Dustin Martin followed with a single, second baseman Gerson Montilla hit a two-run shot.

Mobile starting pitcher Braden Shipley earned his first professional hit when he smacked a solo home run over the left field wall in the third inning off Corcino to put the BayBears ahead, 2-0. Corcino gave up five runs and six hits in five-plus innings, however, he struck out seven, including five in a row. Shipley allowed just one run on three hits in four innings and struck out five.

The BayBears, winners of the first half of the Southern League South Division, have the best record in the second half, too. They are 30-19 and 72-46 overall. In the final series with Pensacola (20-31, 51-70), Mobile leads nine games to seven.

After Mobile added a run in the seventh, Drew Hayes took the mound and stopped Mobile from scoring any more. He faced the minimum eight batters in the final 2.2 innings. He fanned three batters.

The Wahoos were only able to push across one run Tuesday and missed having catcher Ross Perez in the middle of the lineup, Manager Delino DeShields said. Perez, who was hitting a team-leading .333 on the season, got called up Tuesday to the Triple-A Louisville Bats.

“He earned the promotion,” DeShields said. “I know he was happy. Personally, I hated to see him go, especially for our offense. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the guys moving on and one day reaching the big leagues.”

The second game of the five-game series with Arizona DiamondBacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. RHP Jon Moscot (7-10, 3.14) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP Aaron Blair (3-1, 3.09).

by Tommy Thrall

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