Wahoos Record 100th Sellout With Win Over Mobile’s Baybears

July 26, 2014

On a historic night when the Pensacola Blue Wahoos recorded their 100th sellout in only its third season, Michael Lorenzen became the team’s first pitcher to hit a home run.

It wasn’t just any home run, it was a two-out grand slam that broke a 1-1 tie and vaulted Pensacola to a 7-1 lead over the Mobile BayBears, who have the best record in the Southern League.

Pensacola never looked back and went on to win its fourth straight game – tying its longest streak of the season – with a 9-1 victory in front of 5,038 fans at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Lorenzen said he wished it was his pitching, not his hitting, that fans gave him a standing ovation for during a curtain call.

“It was one of the best feelings ever,” he said afterward. “It stunk that I had to do it as a batter instead of a pitcher. But everyone loves playing here and we want to make the fans happy.”

Lorenzen came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the third inning. The BayBears highly touted Archie Bradley, who is the Arizona Diamondbacks No. 1 pitching prospect, intentionally walked Brodie Greene to pitch against Lorenzen. Greene had doubled in Kyle Waldrop to tie the game at 1 in the second inning, which extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Pensacola Manager Delino DeShields knows what Lorenzen can do at the plate from jacking balls out of the ballpark during batting practice. Lorenzen, who played outfield for Cal State Fullerton last year before being drafted by Cincinnati, hit .335 with seven homers and 35 RBI in college. For the Wahoos this season, Lorenzen leads all pitchers with a .227 average and five of his hits now include three doubles and a grand slam.

“I was not expecting a home run but I knew if he got a strike he would do something with it,” DeShields said. “Mike’s a good hitter.”

Lorenzen’s last grand slam came for Cal State Fullerton in 2013 when he knocked one out in the first inning after coming straight from his brother’s wedding.

The Wahoos bullpen also put up another good outing, allowing no hits in five innings. James Walczak who relieved Lorenzen in the fourth inning, pitched three innings, allowed one hit and struck out six, including five in a row. Walczak entered the game having given up four runs in 1.1 innings in his last outing.

Both Lorenzen and Walczak emphasized how much they enjoy playing in front of sellout crowds at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium that’s on the scenic waterfront in downtown Pensacola.

“I love this Pensacola atmosphere,” Lorenzen said. “It’s been fun all year, even though, it has not been a good season for us. We enjoy making everyone go wild.”

Walczak said he feeds off the energy of the Pensacola fans.

“It’s energizing for us,” he said. “We know the fans are there for us whether we win or lose. I love how Pensacola takes care of us.”

DeShields said on Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer’s 63rd birthday, he was happy to get the 100th sellout and the win. It was the 29th sellout in 55 home games this year and puts the Wahoos on pace to surpass 300,000 fans total for the third year in three seasons.

“A big shoutout needs to go to the staff and Quint Studer for all they do,” DeShields said. “It’s a credit to them. This is an excellent venue for the fans.”

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos start a five-game series with Atlanta Braves Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves at 6 p.m. Saturday. RHP Ben Lively (0-4, 3.52) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the Braves RHP Jason Hursh (8-6, 3.70).

Varsity Northview Cheerleaders Attend Florida State Camp

July 25, 2014

The Northview High School varsity cheerleaders recently attended a two-night stunt camp at Florida State University.

The team received an overall superior rating and the “Banana Spirit Award”. Kendal Cobb received the “Pin It Forward Award”, and Morgan Ward and Megan Bryan were selected as All-American Cheerleaders. Ward and Bryan will have an opportunity to take part in the London New Year’s Day parade.

“We are anticipating a great season,” Coach Megan Carroll said.

Pictured top: The Northview High School varsity cheerleaders recently attended  a stunt camp at Florida State University. Pictured below: Morgan Ward (left) and Megan Bryan (center) where selected as All-American Cheerleaders, and Kendal Cobb received the “Pin It Foward Award”. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Three In A Row: Blue Wahoos Beat The Mobile BayBears

July 25, 2014

Bryson Smith broke an 0-for-15 slump since returning to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos lineup in Hollywood-type fashion.

Smith belted a grand slam in the third inning that put the Wahoos ahead, 7-2, against Southern League South Division leader the Mobile BayBears. Pensacola held on to win its third straight game, 7-6, Thursday in front of a sellout crowd at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. The Wahoos took their first series in the second half with the dramatic win.

It was the right fielder’s first RBI since June 15, 2013. That’s when Smith made an all-out play that cost him the second half of last season and a majority of this one. Chasing down a fly ball, he climbed the right field wall and his foot got stuck in the fencing’s padding, tearing every ligament in his ankle and shattering his fibula in six places. Smith still managed to catch the ball.

Smith hoped to play through the injury this season but went back on the DL on April 25 because of bone chips as a result of the surgery to repair the initial breaks. He was activated July 7 and sent to High-A Bakersfield before rejoing the Wahoos July 18.

“A fairytale would have been in my first at bat back, not my 20th,” said a smiling Smith, who still has no feeling on the outside of his leg and foot. “It’s a relief. It’s been a year since I’ve felt good. I’m still not 100 percent now, but I’m just glad to be playing.”

Before the injury, Smith was a career .308 hitter in his three seasons with the Cincinnati Reds organization. He admits it’s a miracle to be back in the game he loves and still trying to reach the Major Leagues one day. Smith plans to get a lot of rest in the offseason and lots of at bats in winter ball.

“To God be the glory that I’m here and talking to you,” he said. “I definitely have not given up hope. I know I can do it. My goal is to be in Cincinnati.”

Travis Mattair, Smith’s roommate, remembers watching the horrific accident, He says he will also remember Smith’s grand slam.

“I’m so excited for him,” Mattair said. “That was a big one tonight. We’re all happy to see it.”

Pensacola Blue Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields said he wishes Smith the best of luck in his long comeback.

“I’m really glad to see him here,” DeShields said. “He’s a very fortunate young man to just be here playing baseball still. I think he has been pressing a little bit but it was good to see him get one tonight.”

For the second consecutive game, Mobile’s shortstop Nate Sansom started the game with a home run driving a 95 mph fastball from Pensacola starting pitcher Robert Stephenson over the left field fence. Stephenson settled down getting 11 outs in a row at one point before exiting after 4.1 innings of work and seven strikeouts. In all, five Wahoos pitchers combined for 15 Ks.

Pensacola immediately came back with two runs in the bottom of the first and then got five more in the third inning, including four on Smith’s shot to leftfield.

The finale of the five-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Friday. RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-5, 2.72) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP Archie Bradley (1-0, 1.78). Bradley is the top prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system and the top pitching prospect in all of baseball.
Pictured: The Pensacola Blue Wahoos beat the Mobile BayBears 7-6 Thursday in Pensacola. Photos by Michael Spooneybarger/ Pensacola Blue Wahoos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Ernest Ward Middle Cheerleaders Attend Summer Camp

July 24, 2014

The 2014-2015 Ernest Ward Middle School Cheerleaders attended a three-day Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at the school this week. The camp wrapped up Wednesday afternoon with a performance for family members and an awards ceremony.  Gabrielle Kline, Madison Sherouse, Nikoal Creamer and Jayda Crabtree were named UCA All-American Cheerleaders and will have the opportunity to participate in the Disney World Thanksgiving Day Parade later this year. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Win Second Straight

July 24, 2014

How can you out do the excitement of having two of the greatest football players in college history at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball game?

You hit a two-out blast over the left field wall that wins the game for the home team, 3-2.

That’s exactly what Travis Mattair, who has the most home runs in Wahoos history with 22 over the past two seasons, did. He jacked a deep homer in the seventh inning that broke a 2-2 tie and ended up the game-winner against the Mobile BayBears at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. It was the Wahoos second straight win over Southern League South Division leader Mobile.

Wednesday’s game began with former Heisman Trophy winners and national champions Charlie Ward, a Florida State Seminoles quarterback, and Danny Wuerffel, a Florida Gators quarterback. Ward won his Heisman in 1993 and Weruerffel in 1996. Although the fans cheered loudly for them, most of the Wahoos were too young to remember the college superstars.

But Mattair out shone the legendary guests, especially since he has struggled with a season-long slump at .225. He went 3-4 Wednesday, though, adding two singles. He now has nine home runs and 44 RBI on the year.

Mattair said he’s following advice given to him by Cincinnati Reds great Ken Griffey Sr. who told him to play the game like he did when he was a boy during a slump in High-A Bakersfield.

“I’ll never forget that,” Mattair said. “I’m just trying to have fun and contribute to the team. It has been kind of a tough year but I can still make this a good year.”

Pensacola manager Delino DeShields said Mattair’s attitude remains positive on the field and off.

“Moose still has a pulse there,” DeShields said. “He’s still battling. His attitude hasn’t changed even through his struggles.”

DeShields also liked having a new middle reliever in Ben Klimesh who got called up from High-A Bakersfield on Wednesday. In his debut, Klimesh got the win by throwing a scoreless seventh inning.

“That was the biggest inning of the night,” DeShields said. “Putting up a zero gives us a chance to win. I thought (Klimesh) was very good out there.”

The BayBears got on the scoreboard first when Nate Samson started the game with a home run. However, the Wahoos came right back in the bottom of the first inning with two runs when Ross Perez singled in Brodie Greene and Kyle Waldrop hit a deep fly ball to left field to score Perez.

After the first inning, starting pitcher Jon Moscot retired 11 in a row after getting a double play to end the first inning. He allowed six hits and one walk and struck out two in six innings of work.

Mobile’s Jake Lamb, hitting .353 with runners in scoring position, hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field to score Samson from third to tie the game at 2 in the sixth inning, setting up Mattair’s heroics.

The fourth game of the five-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. RHP Robert Stephenson (5-6, 3.84) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP Bradin Hagens (8-4, 3.95).

Wahoos Beat Mobile

July 23, 2014

With hundreds of budding princesses roaming Pensacola Bayfront Stadium in their dresses and tiaras, something magical happened in the first inning.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos scored seven runs on eight hits, including five doubles, and went on to defeat the Mobile BayBears, 8-4, on 18 hits.

Daddy-Daughter night at the ballpark included a pre-game parade where Little Mermaids, Snow Whites and Jasmines pranced down the first baseline to loud applause. It included Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields young daughter helping her daddy deliver the lineup card to the umpires and join a quartet of other princesses to sing, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” during the seventh inning stretch.

Whether it was magic spells at work or not, DeShields was just happy to see his hitters hitting. During the team’s 1-8 skid entering Tuesday’s game, the Wahoos hit .239 as a team and had 77 strikeouts and 67 hits.

All nine starters got on base during the game and only pitcher Daniel Corcino was hitless. In fact, seven of the nine hitters had at least two hits and Ryan Wright, Kyle Waldrop and Juan Duran all had three.

DeShields said it was the first time his 7-year-old daughter, Delaney, got to sit in the dugout and hangout on the field. They watched the 7-minute fireworks show to Disney tunes together after the game.

“She might be a good luck charm,” DeShields said. “I’m going to have to start bringing her all the time.”

Yorman Rodriguez, who went 2-5, including a double to start the game, said one of the most special feelings he has is when he hears his toddler in the stands behind the backstop shouting his name.

“The whole game she yells, ‘Poppie! Poppie!’” Rodriguez said. “She yells loud, too. It’s awesome.”

Mobile scored three of its runs on a homerun over the right-center fence by Jake Lamb, who is leading or near the top in every offensive category in the Southern League. The Arizona Diamondbacks No. 9 prospect according to MLB.com has 13 homers and 76 RBI.

The third game of the five-game series with the Arizona Diamonbacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. RHP Jon Moscot (5-9, 3.19) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP A.J. Schugel (4-1, 3.70).

by Tommy Thrall

Mobile Takes Season Opener From Pensacola

July 22, 2014

Minor league baseball’s strikeout kings for most of the season went head-to-head Monday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

The result? The Pensacola Blue Wahoos Ben Lively retook the strikeout mantle with four strikeouts for 135 on the year. But the Mobile BayBears Aaron Blair had 9 Ks to up his total to 134 on the season and got the win in his Double-A debut.

Plus, Blair earned the first hit off Lively in the game in the fifth inning with a bloop single to left field.

Mobile won the opening game of the five-game series, 6-3, extending its winning streak to seven games. The BayBears are now 44-4 when leading after the seventh inning and the first half Southern League South Division winners now lead the second half, too, with a 20-9 record and are 62-36 overall.

Meanwhile, Pensacola fell to 10-21 in the second half and 41-60 overall.

Lively, who fell to 0-4, was trying for his first win at Double-A with the Wahoos, but left the game after walking the first two batters in the seventh and reliever Carlos Gonzalez allowed one of those BayBears to score. Lively did not allow a hit for the first 4.1 innings and only gave up two singles but ended up walking seven.

Blair, the Diamondbacks No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, said his debut win was even more special since he and Lively have known each other for four years, playing in the same division in college, pitching as teammates for the same team in Cape Cod League (summer collegiate) and facing each other in High-A.

“It was about as good a debut as you can hope for,” Blair said. “It was cool getting to pitch and hit against a good friend.”

Lively, a Gulf Breeze product, said he feels no pressure about getting his first win of the season for the Wahoos. Lively has allowed 25 walks, hit 2 batters and given up 23 hits in 30.2 innings for Pensacola, so far.

“Once I have good games and not give up a lot of free passes and put up zeros the wins will start coming,” he said. “If I make the right pitches, I can get anybody out.”

Pensacola manager Delino DeShields gave Lively a pep talk outside the locker room after the game, telling him to stay in control of his emotions.

“Ben, even though he walked seven guys, still gave us a good game,” DeShields said. “I’m still waiting for him, and I don’t want to say this the wrong way, to control his emotions. I think it’s getting the better of him sometimes.”

Pensacola kept from getting shutout for the 11th time when catcher Ross Perez hit a two-out, three-run shot over the right field wall that made the final score, 6-3.

The second game of the five-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate the Mobile BayBears gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. RHP Daniel Corcino (8-8, 4.36) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the BayBears RHP Mike Lee (6-4, 4.14).

by Tommy Thralll

Still Time To Register For Northview QB Club Softball Tournament

July 21, 2014

The Northview High School Quarterback Club will host a double elimination coed softball tournament August 2 at Showalter Park in Century from 8 a.m. until. The cost is $150 per team. Proceeds will go to support the Northview Chiefs football program.

For more information or to sign up a team, call Amy at (850) 516-8400 or Tony at (850) 516-5736.

Suns Take Finale Over Wahoos

July 21, 2014

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (10-20, 41-59) dropped the series finale, 5-2, to the Jacksonville Suns (18-11, 54-45) at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Wahoos fell to 1-7 over their last eight games.

The Wahoos jumped out to an early lead when starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen singled home his battery mate Ross Perez in the second inning. The Wahoos put together little more offensively, despite receiving three hit days from both Perez and center fielder Yorman Rodriguez.

In his first start since July 1, Lorenzen was able to work through the first three innings of the game unscathed, but the Suns put three runs on the board to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Catcher Austin Barnes homered for the second straight day to open up the inning and tie the score at one. Following the solo home run, Joe Benson doubled down the third base line and later scored on Brady Shoemaker’s double into left field. That gave the Suns a lead they would never relinquish. Shoemaker later came home to score on a Wilfredo Gimenez groundout.

The Suns tacked on another run in the fifth thanks to Barnes’ second homer of the game and they put the game away in the bottom of the eighth when Alfredo Lopez scored Alex Burg on an RBI single to right field. The Wahoos fought back in the top of the ninth with Ryan Wright scoring on an error, but Perez left a man in scoring position when he grounded out to end the game.

Lorenzen took the loss for the Wahoos, allowing 4 R/ER on eight hits while striking out two batters. RHP Drew Hayes pitched well in relief of Lorenzen, allowing just one hit over 2.1 innings of work.

RHP Jose Urena earned the win for the Suns; he allowed 1 R/ER over 5.2 innings of work. Urena struck out five, walked three and gave up seven hits. RHP Matt Ramsey earned the save for the Suns.

Pensacola returns to Bayfront Park for a five-game set with the Mobile BayBears on Monday. The Wahoos will send Gulf Breeze native Ben Lively (0-3, 4.38) to the mound for game one of the series. RHP Bradin Hagens (8-4, 3.95) is set to start for the BayBears.

by Joey Truncale

Suns Sink Wahoos 6-2

July 20, 2014

The Jacksonville Suns scored all six of their runs over their final two innings to sink the Wahoos 6-2 and spoil a stellar start by Wahoos right-hander Tim Adleman. The Wahoos starter opened the game with a season-high six shutout innings but didn’t pick up a decision.

With the Wahoos leading 2-0, the Suns took over the lead on a three-run home run from Austin Barnes off reliever James Walczak (L, 2-5) in the seventh inning. Two of the runs were charged to Adleman who allowed a single and a walk to open the inning, and left the game before recording an out. Aldeman was charged with just the 2 R/ER over 6.0 innings. He allowed just six hits with five strikeouts and only one walk.

Pensacola scored both of its runs in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice and RBI single. Those runs broke up a scoreless tie led by Adleman and Suns starter Justin Nicolino. Both pitchers matched zeros for the first four innings of the game before Pensacola broke through first. Nicolino allowed just the 2 R/0 ER on six hits over 6.0 innings. He added five strikeouts without issuing a walk.

The Suns put the game away with three runs in the eighth inning. Wahoos relievers walked four batters in the inning to ignite the rally. Jacksonville only collected one hit in the inning, a two-run double from Brady Shoemaker.

Walczak took the loss after getting charged with 4 R/ER on two hits with three walks over 1.1 innings. Frankie Reed (W, 1-0) picked up the win out of the Suns bullpen. He worked just one shutout inning for his first win of the year.

For the second straight game Ryan Wright paced the offense for the Blue Wahoos. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk for his second consecutive multi-hit game. Jacksonville locked up the series and the season series with the win over the Blue Wahoos securing the Suns’ possession of the golden skillet traveling trophy.

Pensacola will try to end the road trip on a high note Sunday. RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-4, 2.45) will start for the Blue Wahoos against Suns RHP Jose Urena (7-7, 4.24). First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. CT.

by Tommy Thrall

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