Navarre High School snapped a three-game baseball losing streak in fine fashion Tuesday, whipping Prattville, Ala., Christian School 10-0 in five innings.
Shortstop Jared Gonzalez, one of four freshmen in the Raiders' starting lineup, was three-for-three in his first varsity start, scored and drove in two runs, including the game winner with two outs in the bottom of the fifth (in high school baseball, the game is over when a team leads by 10 or more runs after the fifth or later innings).
The win came one night after the Raiders managed just four hits and, unofficially, committed four errors in a listless 9-1 loss to Ezell-Harding Christian School of Antioch, Tenn. It was just the third game of the season in which Navarre (5-6) never led. The Raiders are 2-4 in games decided in the sixth inning or later and have struggled with errors and capitalizing on scoring opportunities.
"One of our assistant coaches said it right after the game last night," Navarre head coach Mickey O'Quinn said after the Prattville win. "We might not be as good as we thought we were at the beginning of the season, but we're not as bad as we've been playing."
The Raiders played much better against the visiting Panthers (7-9), committing just one error and benefitting from six Prattville miscues. Besides Gonzalez, the NHS Class of 2014 was represented by left fielder Gavin Wehby, second baseman Jason Frederick and rikght fielder Drew Berteau. Wehby and Frederick have been in the starting lineup most of the season; Berteau started for junior Jacob Terry and Gonzalez joined a platoon of players trying to settle the Raiders' infield defense.
Junior Justin Jordan pitched a five-inning shutout, allowing just three hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out four Prattville batters with a masterful mix of his trademark breaking ball and sneaky fastball. He helped himself by going three-for-four at the plate with a double, two singles, a run and three RBIs. Designated hitter Dusty Jones, taking a night off from his regular catching duties, went two-for-three and accounted for three Raider runs.
Navarre's freshmen will host Pace at 6 p.m. tonight, March 16, and Gulf Breeze at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 17, before the varsity Raiders resume their home stand at 6:30 p.m. against the Dolphins. The Raiders will play Harrison County, Ky., at NHS on March 23 before resuming District 1-5A action with home games against Tate and Pine Forest on March 24 and March 25, respectively.