Navarre 2, Pine Forest 1, 8 innings
Jacob Terry threw out the would-be winning run at home plate and drove in the decisive score in Navarre's 2-1 extra-inning baseball victory Friday at Pine Forest.
The win was the Raiders' first in District 1-5A play after consecutive losses to district foes Milton and Tate. Navarre is 3-2 overall.
Terry, a junior, fielded Zach Hathaway's single to right field on a hop and gunned the ball to catcher Dusty Jones. Jones had to move a few feet up the third-base line to take the throw but made a diving tag on Jerald Reinhardt, who was trying to score from second base, for the final out of the seventh inning.
Hard-throwing Pine Forest reliever John Lester hit Navarre freshman Gavin Wehby with one out in the eighth and Devante Taylor was safe when Eagles right fielder Brent McNair let a routine fly ball bounce off the fingers of his glove. Terry followed with a smash to Pine Forest third baseman Gabe Veith, who hesitated as Wehby ran by on his way to third then threw wildly trying to retire Terry at first base. Wehby scored and Taylor went to third on the play. Lester walked Justin Jordan to load the bases, then fanned Jason Frederick for the second out.
Trying to add to the Raiders' slim lead, Navarre head coach Mickey O'Quinn called for a suicide squeeze, sending the runners with Lester's first pitch. The offering was high to Dusty Jones and Eagles catcher Josh Middleton was able to sweep his glove down to tag out Taylor as he slid face-first toward the plate.
Veith reached safely on a one-out infield error in the bottom of the eighth inning and moved to second on Tyler Bergstrom's groundout to Frederick at second. But Jordan struck out Middleton, the Eagles' cleanup hitter, to end the game.
Navarre scored its first run in the sixth against starter Brandon Nagel. Chris Wheeler doubled, moved up a base on Wehby's groundout to third and scored on Taylor's single.
The Raiders almost squandered a fine outing by starting pitcher Devante Taylor, who pitched six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts while allowing just a single and one base-on-balls. In his first start, Taylor pitched a complete-game (seven innings) one-hitter in a 3-1 win at Gulf Breeze. The senior had two singles against Pine Forest. Wheeler and Jones had Navarre's only other hits. Nagel pitched seven innings, fanned eight and allowed a single run on four hits and a walk. Hathaway had two hits for the Eagles (0-3).
Navarre's next three varsity games are at home, Tuesday, March 1, against Fort Walton Beach, Tuesday, March 8, against Escambia and Thursday, March 10, against the defending state champion Pace Patriots. Escambia and Pace are District 1-5A foes. All three games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The Raiders' freshmen team is scheduled to play March 3 at Pace and March 4 against Milton in Navarre. Those games are scheduled for 6 p.m.