Ernest Ward’s Dive Team Places At County Championship

April 27, 2016

The Ernest Ward Middle School Dive Team earned a second and a 10th place finish during the Escambia County Diving Championships at Washington High School.

The Ernest Ward Dive Team consisted of just two team members — Jayda Crabtree and Louis Crabtree III. Jayda placed 2nd, with a total score of 154.95. Louis placed 10th with a score of 114.60. Their scores will be added to Ernest Ward’s County Girls and Boys Swim Teams final score.

There were a total of 29 divers in the competition.

Pictured: Ernest Ward Middle School Dive Team Coach Randy Sanderson, Jayda Crabtree, Coach Betty Coon, Louis Crabtree III. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Jackson Wins Finale 5-3 Over The Blue Wahoos

April 27, 2016

Coming off Tommy John surgery, Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey consistently threw his fastball in the 93-95 mph range in his second rehab start in the minor leagues against the Jackson Generals.

Jackson, though, ended Pensacola’s three game winning streak by taking the final game of the series, 5-3, in front of 3,317 at Admiral Fetterman Field at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The Blue Wahoos won the third of four series to start this year. Pensacola won the series, 3-2, with its win Monday night.

Bailey’s first pitch was 94 mph. But he did give up a first inning run when Jackson center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who was hit in the back of his shoulder on a 93 mph fastball, scored on left-handed hitting Leon Landry’s single to left field where the shortstop normally plays but the Blue Wahoos had shifted right, expecting Landry to pull the ball.

It would be Jackson’s only earned run in the first three innings.

The normally error-proof Pensacola defense, the best in the Southern League, made five errors in the second and third innings to make four of Jackson’s five runs unearned. The defensive meltdown happened behind Bailey’s second rehab pitching assignment and led to three unearned runs in the third and one unearned run in the second inning, putting Jackson on top, 5-2.

Bailey didn’t blame the Blue Wahoos defense, though, whose previous high was two errors this season in a game against Jackson. They had nine errors total coming into the final game of the series.

“I would say this one was a bit uglier,” said Bailey. “I wouldn’t say it was a smooth four innings. We had some obstacles we had to overcome.”

Bailey gave up six hits, five runs, one earned, walked two and struck out three in his four innings of work. Bailey, who hasn’t pitched a Major League game in almost a year, threw 78 pitches total.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly shrugged off his young defense’s uncharacteristic showing.

“Those things happen,” Kelly said. “We really put (Bailey) in a bad spot having to throw so many additional pitches.”

Bailey, who has a career 58-51 record in nine major league seasons with two no-hitters, said he looks forward to returning to the Cincinnati starting rotation and picking up where he left off before two seasons of injuries. He got two starts last season and then was out in September 2014 after a torn flexor tendon.

“It’s been a long road that we could talk about for an hour,” Bailey said about his recovery. “I’m just trying to build up my endurance and trying to stay sharp. I’m looking forward to getting back to Great American Ballpark and being with guys I’ve played with the last five or six years. We’re holding our own and doing a lot better than people thought we would this season.”

Bailey was the second Reds pitcher to get a start in the series against Jackson. On Sunday, Anthony DeSclafini started his first rehab game, as he recovers from an oblique strain suffered in Spring Training. Bailey threw in Louisville April 21 and expects to throw one more game in the minors before returning to the Reds rotation.

Kelly said Bailey and DeSclafini may pay off for his strong pitching that leads the Southern League with a 2.24 ERA. But he would have liked to stick with his rotation.

“It probably pays off at the end of the season with all that time off,” he said. “I have five major league pitchers playing for me already, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll take my five and go to the big leagues tomorrow. You can’t beat what they’ve done.”

This series it was the Blue Wahoos hitting that carried the day. It hit .189 in its 5-game losing streak and averaged 1.4 runs per game, including losing back-to-back 1-0 games to the Biloxi Shuckers and Jackson Generals.

But the Blue Wahoos hit 32-102 or .314 during its three-game winning streak over Jackson, and scored 8.3 runs per game. For the series, it hit .287 against Jackson pitching.

Molino Hots Shots 12U Softball Teams Wins Tiger Point Championship

April 26, 2016

The Molino Hot Shots 12U girls softball team recently won the 12U B Tiger Point Mid Season Tournament championship. The team is sponsored by the Molino Volunteer Fire Department. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Blue Wahoos Take Series Over Generals

April 26, 2016

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos finally gave Amir Garrett his first Double-A victory by knocking three dingers and scoring nine runs Monday at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Garrett left the game to a standing ovation from the crowd of 3,512, as he retired the last 12 batters he faced in the Blue Wahoos third straight victory over the Jackson Generals, 9-3.

“I didn’t even know what to do,” Garrett said sheepishly. “Do I throw my hands up and wave to the crowd? The Blue Wahoos fans really love baseball and they really love the Blue Wahoos. I appreciate that.”

Garrett, who is 1-2 in four starts with a 1.46 ERA, finally got some run support from his teammates this season. The southpaw, who is the Cincinnati Reds No. 3 prospect, has allowed four earned runs in 24.2 innings pitched but the Blue Wahoos have backed him up with just three runs until Monday’s outburst.

“It’s a big thing to get that first win in Double-A,” said Garrett, who had season-highs of 6.2 innings pitched and nine strikeouts. He allowed just two hits. “I’m really happy. When we get on the board first, I’m very confident I can win the ballgame. These guys will come around most of the time for me. I’ll bet on that.”

The floodgates opened Monday with Pensacola winning its third straight game by having its first multiple home run game of the season. They blasted three with center fielder Tony Renda, right fielder Phillip Ervin and left fielder Sebastian Elizalde all knocking it out on a windy night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he’s confident with the team’s strong starting rotation that the Blue Wahoos can’t lose, if they hit like they have this series. The Blue Wahoos clinched the five-game series with Jackson by going up, 3-1, after breaking out with 32 hits in 102 at bats for a .314 batting average the past three games. That comes after hitting .167 in its last series against the Biloxi Shuckers on the road.

“With our pitching we just need a few runs,” Kelly said. “(Garrett) was super. He got stronger as the game went along.”

One of Garrett’s biggest strikeouts came in the fifth inning when he showed some emotion after striking out Jackson catcher Steve Baron after five foul balls and eight pitches. His career-high is 12 strikeouts, which he did last year with the High-A Daytona Tortugas and for the first time in 2013 with the Low-A Dayton Dragons.

“I threw everything at him but the kitchen sink,” Garrett said. “He was pushing my pitch count up. He’s a great hitter. These guys are more advanced. They don’t swing at too many pitches.”

Elizalde, who went 2-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs, said he was happy that the offense came through for Garrett. Elizalde, who hit his second home run this series, extended his hitting streak to a team-high nine games this season and is now 9-22, batting .409 during his streak.

“(Garrett) was really aggressive early in the count and was in a good groove,” said Elizalde, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. “I’m definitely happy we could help him get that first win.”

Pensacola right fielder Phillip Ervin started a two-out two run rally in the bottom of the first inning when he lined a stand up double to left field. Third baseman Eric Jagielo followed with a walk. That’s when left fielder Elizalde crushed a fly ball over Jackson center fielder Guillermo Heredia head that he chased down at the warning track, allowing both Ervin and Jagielo to score and put the Blue Wahoos up, 2-0.

Again in the second inning the Blue Wahoos scored two runs with two outs. Pensacola shortstop Calten Daal, playing in his first game after suffering a concussion in the season opener when a pitch hit him in the head, singled to center field. Center fielder Tony Renda then sent the ball over the left field wall for a two-out, two-run homer putting Pensacola up, 4-0.

Pensacola’s Ervin generated a run in the third inning when he walked to lead off the third inning, stole second base, went to third on a Jagielo sacrifice fly ball to right field, and scored when Elizalde hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, giving the Blue Wahoos a 5-0 lead.

Wahoos Win Over Jax

April 25, 2016

Pensacola scored four runs in the fourth inning with Ray “The Mayor” Chang getting the clutch double that put the Blue Wahoos ahead for good Sunday, 3-2, against the Jacksonville Generals at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

His game-winning hit came in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038, who watched Pensacola go on to win 6-3 and improve to 11-7 this season. Pensacola now has sold out five of its eight home games and four in a row.

The 32-year-old Chang, who is an 11-year veteran, earned the nickname from his young teammates last season and this year’s young team has made it stick.

Another nickname for Chang could be Mr. Clutch. The first baseman went 3-4 with a run scored, a double and two RBIs Sunday and earlier this season, he had his second walk-off hit for the Blue Wahoos.

After Sunday’s game, The Mayor now leads the Blue Wahoos in batting average at .345 and is second on the team with eight RBIs in 10 games this season, so far.

“It started last year and I guess the more years I come here I’ll here it more often than not,” said Chang, who has four seasons under his belt in Pensacola.

Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly has come to rely on the veteran when the second place team in the Southern League South Division needs a hit.

“That was a big double right there,” he said. “It gives us a lead that we hold on to the rest of the way. Chang today did a really nice job.”

Trailing, 2-0, Pensacola came back in the fourth inning with four runs on four hits and a walk to go ahead, 4-2. DH Brandon Dixon drove in third baseman Eric Jagielo on a liner to left field to make the score, 2-1.

Chang then ripped his double that rolled to left field corner after Jackson’s Leon Landry dived for the ball but missed. Both left fielder Tony Renda and Dixon crossed the plate for a 3-2 lead. Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej added one more run when his sacrifice fly to right field scored Chang for the fourth and final run of the inning.

Pensacola pitcher Nick Travieso took the mound after being reactivated from the disabled list with a pulled groin and three game suspension when umps felt he purposely threw at a batter. He threw four innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out five. His ERA now stands at 2.63 for the season.

“I think he was a little rusty,” Kelly said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Kelly, though, said El’Hajj Muhammad’s 2.1 innings of relief were the most critical, allowing him to rest his other bullpen pitchers.

Muhammad got off to a rocky start allowing three straight singles in the fifth inning by Jackson second baseman Tim Lopes, right fielder Tyler O’Neill and left fielder Leon Landry to load the bases with no outs.

However, Muhammad struck out Generals first baseman D.J. Peterson and then got DH Dan Paolini to hit a bouncer back to him that he threw to catcher Chad Wallach and Wallach threw to first baseman Ray Chang for a double play to end the inning and the scoring threat. Muhammad pumped his fist in excitement after the defensive highlight.

Jackson had scored two runs in the fourth inning to go up, 2-0. The Generals’ Peterson doubled down left field line to score Landry with the first run. Jackson catcher Steve Baron then hit a slow roller that Blue Wahoos pitcher Nick Travieso couldn’t handle, allowing Peterson to score the second run.

Pensacola added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to go ahead, 6-3. Vincej walked to start the inning and scored when Jackson reliever Andrew Kittredge fielded a ground ball and threw wide of first base into the right field bullpen trying to get the Blue Wahoos speedy center fielder Beau Amaral. Second baseman Alex Blandino then hit a grounder into left field that scored Amaral.

Amaral went 0-4 with one run scored to end his eight-game hitting streak. He’s batting .286 on the year.

Wahoos Beat Jackson 10-4

April 24, 2016

Anthony DeSclafani, who was scheduled to be the opening day starter for the Cincinnati Reds, instead got his first start Saturday at the Major League club’s Double-A affiliate the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

DeSclafani left the game after throwing 61 pitches in four innings in his first rehab assignment from a mild strain of his oblique that he suffered in Spring Training. He was trailing, 3-0, on two home runs crushed by Jackson Generals right fielder Tyler O’Niell.

However, Pensacola ended its five-game skid and 21.1 scoreless innings to steamroll Jackson, 10-4, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. It was the Blue Wahoo’s fourth sellout in seven home games this season.

Making his first start in Pensacola wasn’t how DeSclafani planned his second season in the big leagues, after becoming the first Reds’ rookie to lead the team in wins (9), starts (31), innings pitched (184.2) and strike outs (151) since Art Fowler in 1954.

“Whether you’re a rookie or not, no one wants to start on the disabled list,” DeSclafani said. “I’m competitive, so not being out there is not fun.”

DeSclafani left two hanging curveballs over the plate and O’Neill blasted both of them out of Blue Wahoos Stadium into the Community Maritime Park. O’Neill’s two-run home run in the first inning cleared Hill-Kelly Hill and walkway in right center field. His second splashed into the Pensacola Bay over the left field wall.

DeSclafani allowed four hits, one walk, struck out five and gave up three earned runs in his four innings of work. His fastball reached 95 mph on the scoreboard radar gun and he also worked on his off-speed pitches. In the first inning, DeSclafani walked Jackson lead-off batter Guillermo Heredia on four straight pitches, and then on three straight pitches he struck out the next batter, second baseman Tim Lopes.

“I felt great,” said DeSclafani, who said his next rehab assignment is at Low-A Dayton. “I was working on all my pitches. I hope Dayton goes well and then I will meet the (Cincinnati) team wherever they’re at.”

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he thought DeSclafani looked better on the mound the longer he pitched.

“This is the first time he’s pitched a game,” Kelly pointed out. “He got stronger as he went along.”

DeSclafani said he’s happy with Cincinnati giving all its young talent an opportunity to play for them as they rebuild its team. He was one of nine rookie starters in 2015 and part of the Major League record of 64 consecutive starts by rookie pitchers.

“What a great opportunity this is for all the young players,” DeSclafani said. “The vibe this year has been awesome with all the young guys. A lot of young guys are here (in Pensacola) to start their career and prove they belong in the big leagues. The Reds are giving them that opportunity and it’s great.”

He continued, “I was given that opportunity last year and I’m here again in year two, hopefully, to build on last year and try to establish my career.”

DeSclafani, who played in the Southern League in 2013 and 2014 for the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Suns, said he had some fond memories of the Southern League flood his mind during his drive down Pensacola Beach to get a closer look at its world-renowned white sandy beaches.

“I do have flashbacks,” he said. “I faced Jon Moscot in his debut. He got a hit and he hasn’t let me live it down. It was fun being part of that team and the Southern League.”

After hitting .167 against Biloxi and getting shutout, 1-0, in back-to-back games, Pensacola’s bats came to life Saturday.

The team scored nine runs on nine hits in the sixth and seventh innings, sending 20 batters to the plate.

Pensacola shortstop Alex Blandino, who entered the game hitting .103, led the way with a single and two doubles in five at bats and drove in a run. He raised his average to .176.

“It felt great to get those hits and help our team win tonight,” Blandino said. “It’s been tough. Hopefully, we’ll be aggressive and keep rolling, not just me, but our whole lineup.”

Kelly said it was just a matter of time for the team to start hitting. It’s average is .209 on the season.

“We had to break out eventually,” he said. “We couldn’t keep throwing zeros up there.”

Pensacola improved to 10-7 and remains in second place in the Southern League South Division. Jackson’s five-game winning streak ended and fell to 11-5 but is still in first place in the North Division.

Wahoos Losing Streak Increases To Five Games

April 23, 2016

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos losing streak increased to five games after the Jackson Generals eked out the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to win, 1-0, Friday at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Jackson scored without getting a hit. In the top of the ninth inning, Jackson DH Leon Landry smacked a line drive to left field but it was deep enough to score center fielder Guillermo Heredia from third and put the Generals ahead, 1-0.

Heredia led off with a walk and then was bunted to second by second baseman Tim Lopes. He reached third base on a wild pitch by reliever Kyle McMyne, who was making his seventh relief appearance.

One good spot remains the Pensacola starting pitching. Daniel Wright, making his second spot start of the season, pitched six scoreless innings, giving up two hits, walking one and striking out six. He’s now pitched 11 scoreless innings, allowed three hits and struck out 12.

On the year Wright, who was a starter last year for Pensacola before moving to long reliever, is 2-0 and he dropped his ERA to 0.59.

Kelly said he believes Wright has better command of his pitches this season.

“He was pretty good last year but I think he’s gotten a little better,” Kelly said. “He has command of both sides of the plate. He had a good outing in Biloxi and then throws six strong innings to give us a chance.”

Pensacola, which hit .167 in its last series against the Biloxi Shuckers, had a season-high five doubles and seven hits total. But it was 0-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight men on base. It was the second game in a row that Pensacola was shutout, 1-0.

The Blue Wahoos left two runners, centerfielder Beau Amaral and first baseman Donald Lutz on base, after they doubled to lead off the third and seventh innings, respectively.

“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” said Pensacola manager Pat Kelly. “You want to score runs but we haven’t done it the last couple of nights.”

The Generals remained atop the Southern League North Division at 11-4 and are riding a five game winning streak, matching its longest win streak from last season.

Meanwhile, Pensacola dropped its fifth straight game and is now 9-7 on the year and in second place in the Southern League South Division.

“There’s no reason to panic,” Kelly said. “It’s a long year. Every club goes through these things.”

Both Amaral and right fielder Sebastian Elizalde extended their hitting streaks to seven games. Amaral doubled in the third inning, while Elizalde singled in the fourth. Amaral is now 7-22 or .318 with a home run and four RBIs.

The Blue Wahoos still are getting clutch defense. Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson, rated the best defensive catcher by Baseball America in the Cincinnati Reds organization, threw out Jackson second baseman Tim Lopes trying to steal, making him a perfect 6-6 on the season. In the third inning, despite Hudson’s perfect strike, Generals left fielder Ian Miller stole his fifth base of the season.

Jackson tested Hudson again in the sixth inning and Heredia was nailed trying to steal, putting Hudson at 7-8 on runners trying to steal this season.

Tate Wins District Championship

April 22, 2016

The Tate Aggies clinched the District 1-7A Championship with a 3-1 win over Pace Thursday night.

The game was scoreless for six innings, with Aggies going ahead in the seventh for three. The Patriots only score came on a wild pitch in the seventh.

Micheal Sherrill took the win in one inning, allowing one run, striking out none, walking none and giving up two hits.

Trace Penton was 1-2 with a run for Tate. Branden Fryman was 1-4, Logan Blackmon was 2-4, Josh Kea was 2-3 with a run, and Reid Halfacre also scored one run.

Both teams advance to the regional quarterfinals next Wednesday night at 7:00. Navarre will be at Tate, while Milton will host Pace.

Shuckers Shutout Blue Wahoos

April 22, 2016

After winning its first two series against the Mississippi Braves and Jacksonville Suns, 4-1, and getting off to its hottest start in its five-year history, the Biloxi Shuckers turned the tables on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

The Shuckers Tyrone Taylor hit a two-out home run to left center field in the third inning and its pitchers blanked the Blue Wahoos, 1-0, on five hits Thursday to win the series, 4-1, at MGM Park.

Pensacola lost its fourth game in a row despite pitcher Rookie Davis, who dropped to 2-1, throwing a seven-inning gem. Davis allowed just four hits, gave up no walks and struck out five. His ERA remains at one run per game.

Besides giving up the homer to Taylor, Biloxi threatened to score one other time. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Biloxi got its first two batters to second and third with one out when Brett Phillips was hit by a pitch and Jacob Nottingham singled to center. But Davis worked out of the jam by striking out the next two batters and getting a pop out to exit the inning unscathed.

Pensacola had runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth inning but Blue Wahoos third baseman Eric Jagielo grounded out into a double play to end Pensacola’s only viable threat to score in the game.

Wei-Chung Wang improved to 2-0 on the year by allowing just two hits, two walks and striking out five. Biloxi then used three relievers who spread out the Blue Wahoos other three hits over the last four innings.

Pensacola scored seven runs in its last four losses to Biloxi, which improved to 11-3 and is in first place in the Southern League South Division. Meanwhile, Pensacola dropped to 9-6 in second place 2.5 games back.

One offensive bright spot in the series was center fielder Beau Amaral, who went 1-4, and now has a six-game hitting streak. Batting .288, he was the Blue Wahoos best hitter against Biloxi, going 6-18 in the series (.333) with one home run, four RBIs, a triple and one run scored.

Starting pitchers Jackson Stephens and Davis have gone 6.2 and 7.0 innings, respectively, without giving up a walk.

Milton Shocks Tate 11-0 In Region Quarterfinal

April 21, 2016

The Milton Panthers handed the defending 7A station champion Tate Aggies an unexpected 11-0 loss Wednesday night in the Region 1-7A quarterfinals.

Savannah Rowell pitched three innings for Tate, allowing six runs, six hits and striking out five. Rowell was 1-3 at the plate for Tate, while Savannah Ulrich was 1-3 and Maddie Nelson was 1-2.

Milton advances to the Region 1-7A semifinals Tuesday at Niceville.

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