Baseball, softball teams preparing for post-season

Qualifying baseball and softball teams from Navarro are preparing for their upcoming Region XIV double-elimination tournaments, with one eye peeled toward the post-season brackets as they watch other teams scramble for a dwindling few open positions.

Heading into play Wednesday, six baseball teams (Navarro, Panola, Paris, San Jacinto, Alvin and Blinn) had qualified for the May 11-15 tournament scheduled for Angelina College in Lufkin.   Meanwhile, four softball teams (Navarro, Paris, Galveston and Blinn) had qualified for the May 2-5 meet hosted here at Jesse and Lou Cummings Field.

Four baseball teams — East Zoners Bossier Parish, Northeast, Angelina and South Zone member Galveston — were embroiled in contention for two available slots.  Northeast, however, was dealt a big blow to its chances Wednesday when coach Whoa Dill’s East Zone champion Bulldogs (37-13/24-4) used the big inning in both games here and completed a sweep of the Eagles, 12-2 and 9-8.

Navarro pounded 10 extra-base hits among 32 total hits during the doubleheader.  In Game 1, the Bulldogs profited from a seven-run sixth inning and coasted to an easy win — a combined five-hitter by starting and winning pitcher  Gage Curry, plus Clay Brast.  In Game 2,  NC battled back from 4-0 deficit with a six-run fourth inning and piled up 19 hits during the nine-inning game.  The top four hitters in Navarro’s order (Mason Salazar, Drake Roberts, John Clay Reeves and Tyler Wilson) were a combined 11-of-19 at the plate, scored five runs and knocked in six.

Coach Jessica Karenke-Burke’s softball team (28-17/14-6) qualified as the East Zone’s No. 2 team behind regular-season champion Paris.  South Zone champion Galveston was joined in the field Tuesday by Blinn, which posted a 9-0, 6-2 sweep over Angelina.

The softball tournament field increased by one Wednesday when coach Ashley Johnston’s Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals (30-23) punched their ticket with a doubleheader split at home against Northeast.