After losing a heartbreaker to Tate in their district opener, it was critical that the Raiders not fall to 0-2 in District 1-6A play. When Navarre traveled to Pensacola Feb. 27 to face Escambia High School in a makeup game, the Raiders made sure that didn't happen. (PHOTO: Andrew Berteau slides home safely against Escambia.)
Navarre broke open a game that was tied after five innings and recorded their first district win, 9-5, over the Gators.
Navarre recorded eight hits on the night, led by a four-hit, two-RBI performance from senior Robby “With-a-‘Y’” Miller. Andrew Berteau had two hits and Jared Gonzalez and Carson Wells each added one.
The Raiders continued to be plagued by inconsistent defense.
Two errors in the first inning allowed the Gators to score and take the early 1-0 lead. Navarre answered in the second. Berteau singled and moved down to second on a passed ball. Jason Frederick walked and Miller drove in Berteau with the first of his four hits. Frederick and Miller both scored on a throwing error by Jake Jacobs, the Gator pitcher. The Gators evened the score with single runs in their half of the second and third innings.
Miller started the fifth with a single and stole second. Brendan White's sacrifice bunt moved Miller to third. Matt Marshall delivered a sacrifice fly that plated Miller. Kyle Rogers walked and advanced to third on Jacob's second error. Wells' single drove in Rogers to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Raiders.
Navarre's fifth error of the game in the bottom half of the fifth, combined with three Gator singles, allowed Escambia to tie the score again. Fortunately for the Raiders, a nice throw by Berteau gunned down the potential go-ahead run at the plate.
Jared Gonzalez started off the sixth with a double. Berteau was then hit by a pitch. Miller's third hit drove in Gonzalez with what turned out to be the winning run. The Gator pitchers hit two more Raider batters and issued a walk to allow Navarre to pad its lead to 9-5. Gonzalez pitched five innings and only allowed one earned run. Jeff Rutledge took over the pitching duties in the sixth and recorded the last six outs to preserve the victory for Gonzalez and even the Raiders’ record at 2-2.
Navarre 6, Escambia Academy, Ala., 2
Navarre hosted Escambia Academy from Canoe, Ala., on Friday, March 1, and improved its record to three wins and two losses with a 6-2 win.
Brendan White walked to start the Raider half of the first inning. Andrew Berteau moved White to second with a bunt, but White was thrown out at home trying to score on a single by Carson Wells. After Robby Miller was hit by a pitch and Jared Gonzalez walked, the bases were full of Raiders. Wells crossed the plate after another walk was issued to Devon Spurling. Chandler Moorer' single drove in Miller from third with the second run of the inning.
Navarre threatened again in the bottom of the fourth. Two walks and an error loaded the bases, but a strikeout ended the inning. The Raiders did add a run in the bottom of the fifth. Spurling doubled and Moorer reached on an error. Jordan Kotowske, who was running for Spurling, was able to score on an errant throw.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Jason Frederick was cruising on the mound. Through five innings Frederick only faced 18 batters and gave up just two hits. However, three straight Cougar hits in the top of the sixth inning plated two runs for the visitors and made the game interesting. The Raiders ended the suspense though in the bottom of the frame by scoring three insurance runs. White was hit by a pitch and swiped second. White scored this time on a single by Berteau. Carson Wells then singled and stole second. Jared Gonzalez put the final nail in the coffin with a single that scored Berteau and Wells.
Rutledge relieved Frederick in the seventh and, after giving up a lead-off single, retired the next three batters to end the game.
Catholic 12, Navarre 1
On a frigid and forgettable Saturday afternoon, Navarre gift-wrapped and put a pretty bow on a victory for the defending Class 4A state champions, Pensacola Catholic. The Crusaders entered the game undefeated and ranked first in the state in its class. After playing well the previous two games, the Raiders took the day off and were humiliated on their home field.
Navarre fell behind 1-0 in the first inning by issuing three walks and hitting another Crusader batter. The Raiders really got generous in innings two and three, committing seven errors – four in the second and three in the third. Throw in six base hits, another walk, and another hit batter and Navarre had the makings of a disaster. By the time the third out was recorded in the top of the third inning, Catholic led 12-0.
Navarre avoided the shutout by scoring in the bottom of the fourth. Devon Spurling singled and advanced to third on a hit by Robby Miller.
Matt Marshall's ground-out allowed Spurling to score the Raiders’ only run.
Navarre was scheduled to host three district games this week. Tuesday, March 5, against Pensacola; tonight, Thursday March 7, against Pine Forest; and Friday against Pace. There will be a special ceremony honoring Dan Rollant, the late owner of Vinnie R's Italian Restaurant, before the Pace game on Friday.