CRESTVIEW -- Brandon Passalacqua needed just three pitches Thursday to squash the Carlisle, Ohio, Indians' seventh-inning rally and seal Navarre High School's second win in the Northwest Florida Bulldog Classic.
The Raiders (9-9) will play Pace in the tournament's championship game at 7 p.m. Friday in Crestview. Navarre and Pace are District 1-5A rivals, but the Classic game will not count in district play. The Patriots (13-2) scored twice in the seventh-inning of a 4-2 district win March 10 in Navarre. The teams are scheduled to play a second district game April 15 at Pace.
Navarre built a 4-0 lead but the Indians scored twice in the fifth and twice in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and the tying run at second, Navarre coach Mickey O'Quinn called on Passalacqua, a junior, to face Carlisle cleanup man Nick McGill. The senior center fielder was hitless in three at-bats, but chased the Raiders' Devante Taylor to the far reaches of Crestview High School's 410-foot-deep center field with a deep fly ball in the third and fouled a line drive well into the parking lot behind left field in a fifth-inning strikeout.
No matter. Passalacqua challenged McGill with a fastball for a called first strike. The big hitter belted the next pitch foul and, on an 0-2 pitch he slapped a grounder to freshman shortstop Jared Gonzalez, who threw to Justin Jordan at first to end the game.
The Raiders took the lead in the second inning when Cale Secondine was hit by a pitch, took second when Kyle Camilli reached safely on an outfield error and scored on Jared Gonzalez' two-out single. With Camilli at third, Gonzalez took off from first, drawing a throw from pitcher Zach Braun to second baseman Kory Keough. Camilli broke for the plate but Keough threw to catcher Jake Lamb in time to tag out Camilli.
Navarre extended its lead with three third-inning runs. Gavin Wehby singled and went to second when catcher Dusty Jones dropped a bunt down the first-base line and beat Braun's throw to Evan Helton at first base. Braun fielded Jason Frederick's sacrifice bunt but pulled Helton off the bag with his throw; Frederick was safe, loading the bases with no outs. After Jordan struck out, Secondine singled home Wehby. Braun fanned Devante Taylor for the second out but Camilli singled home Robby Miller, running for Jones. Frederick scored when third baseman Alec Turner couldn't handle Chris Wheeler's hard grounder. Braun struck out Gonzales looking to end the inning.
After the Indians cut the Raiders' lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Jones led off the sixth with a double. Pinch-runner Miller scored Navarre's fifth run on Frederick's single.
Jordan started and pitched three and two-thirds innings to improve his record to 5-0. He allowed no runs but gave up five hits and two bases-on-balls and hit two batters. Wheeler relieved Jordan with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth but got Lamb swinging to end the threat. Wheeler allowed two runs -- one earned -- in the fifth inning on two walks, a Braun double, a hit batter and an error. He struck out two batters in the inning for three in 1.1 innings. Derek LaMar started the sixth inning for Navarre and faced just three batters thanks to a questionable force out at second after a leadoff walk and a line drive to Gonzalez who threw to first for a double play.
Lamar got pinch-hitter Kyle Hunter to ground out to second to start the seventh. Alec Turner singled and Wheeler, who moved to right field after his pitching stint, made a nice running catch on a line drive down the line by Andrew Goodpaster. With two outs, Alex Leach singled pinch-runner Zach Branson to third and Tommy Thacker hit a two-run double into left center field, setting the stage for Passalacqua.
Unofficially, the Indians outhit the Raiders 10 to 7. Leadoff hitter Leach led the attack with three hits in three at bats, a run scored and a run-batted-in. Thacker and Turner each had two hits.
Jones led Navarre with two hits.
Braun took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter. He struck out six Navarre batters. Goodpaster retired the three Raiders he faced in the seventh inning, notching one strikeout.