Navarre High School’s baseball program honored long-time supporter Dan Rollant, the late restaurateur who brought Vinnie R’s Italian Restaurant to Navarre, on Friday before losing 7-2 to visiting rival Pace. The Raiders started the week with home wins against Pensacola and Pine Forest. (PHOTO by Amy Frederick: Kevin Jones and Bryant Watson score on a double by Kyle Rogers against Pine Forest.)
Navarre 3, Pensacola 1
Jeff Rutledge followed up his no-hitter with another strong outing and Robby Miller continued his hot hitting in a 3-1 Navarre win March 5 against Pensacola High School.
Miller led off the second inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jared Gonzalez and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Carson Wells put the ball in play and Miller scored when the Tigers threw out Wells at first.
Miller was the first batter for the Raiders in the fourth and delivered again with a triple to the gap in right center. Gonzalez did his job and got Miller home on a grounder that put Navarre up 2-0.
Bryant Watson walked to start the bottom of the fifth. Kyle Rogers reached on an error that allowed Watson to score all the way from first and Rogers to reach third. An attempted suicide squeeze failed and Rogers was tagged out in the ensuing run down. The inning ended with the Raiders leading 3-0.
Rutledge, who pitched a six-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 loss at Tate on Feb. 21, took the Raiders into the seventh and final inning with a three-run lead. Rutledge had allowed just one harmless single through six innings against Pensacola. After a fly-ball out by the leadoff hitter, the Tigers designated hitter singled for Pensacola’s second hit. Rutledge retired the next batter looking at a third strike. A walk put a second Tiger on base and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Pensacola pitcher Jaquan Brown then singled between short and third, driving home a run, but a nice backhanded stab by Gonzalez kept the ball in the infield and prevented another run. Rutledge got his second strikeout of the inning to end the game and preserve the three-hit, complete-game victory.
Navarre 12, Pine Forest 4
Navarre senior Chase Meek, making his first-ever career start, recorded a victory for the Raiders against the Pine Forest Eagles on March 7. After a somewhat shaky start in which the Eagles scored two runs on a walk, an error and two hits, Meek settled in and went the distance for the win.
After a scoreless first the Raiders got things going in the second and took control of the game. Carson Wells led off with a single, Kevin Jones reached on an error and Devon Spurling bunted his way on. Kyle Rogers then laced a drive just inside the right-field line that scored the three base runners and left him standing on third. Chandler Moorer's sacrifice fly to right plated Rogers. Brendan White then singled and stole second. Robby Miller's single drove in White and the offense had given Meek the cushion he needed.
Navarre added two more runs in the third. Wells led off for the second inning in a row and walked. Spurling’s second hit of the night moved Wells to third. Wells scored when Moorer reached on an error. Bryant Watson, running for Spurling, scored on White's sac fly to pad the lead.
The Eagles scored a run in the fourth, but the Raiders got that run back in their half of the inning. Miller continued his torrid heating streak with a double to right. Jared Gonzalez walked and stole second. "Gonzo" scored on a double by Wells to make the score 8-3. Navarre added to its lead in the fifth, scoring three more runs on just one hit. Berteau got the single, Gonzalez walked, and Wells and Jones were both hit by the pitcher. Two runs scored when Pine Forest failed to field a ball off the bat of Spurling.
The Eagles scratched across another run in the sixth, but Navarre must have liked having an eight-run lead. They scored on a triple by White and a single by Miller. Meek retired the Eagles in order in the seventh to get the complete game, 12-4 victory.
Pace 7, Navarre 2
The Raiders won two of three games for the week, but lost the one they wanted most. Pace visited Navarre last Friday night, March 8, and left town with a 7-2 victory.
Before the start of the game, Paulette Rollant was recognized and presented with a plaque honoring her husband, the late Dan Rollant, who along with his wife, owned and operated Vinnie R's Italian Restaurant, which they built in Harvest Village Court and opened in 2005. Rollant, who died in December 2011, was an avid baseball fan and supported youth sports in the area for years. Paulette Rollant started a scholarship fund in Dan's name to help Navarre High School baseball players continue their education after high school.
The game began after the brief ceremony. The Patriots got on the board first with a single run in the second inning. They added two more in the third off of three hits. A monster home run off the bat of Pace's Jameson Cutchens was the first of two more runs in the fourth.
Trailing 5-0 in the fifth, Navarre finally got its first hit. Gonzalez's double gave the Raiders a spark, but he was stranded at third when a nice sliding catch was made on a line drive by Jason Frederick.
Pace added two more runs in the top of the sixth. Navarre finally got the zero off the scoreboard in the seventh. Kevin Jones reached on an error, Devon Spurling replaced Gonzalez in the batting order and came through with a single and a double down the right field line from Kyle Rogers plated Jones. Spurling crossed the plate on a ground ball by Brendan White to make the final score 7-2.
The Raiders have another busy week coming up. The first of three district games was scheduled to be played at Washington on March 12, followed by back-to-back home games against Milton and Tate on Thursday and Friday.