By MIKE MONTFORT —
The Bulldogs saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end, but rallied for a big run-rule victory that gained a doubleheader split here Sunday with the Paris Dragons.
Paris edged Navarro 7-6 in the seven-inning opener, but the Bulldogs bounced back and secured a 12-4 win in a seven-inning nightcap during a windy afternoon cooled by a northerly breeze.
Coach Matt Podjenski’s Bulldogs (18-8/8-1) now have a two-game lead over second-place Bossier Parish and three games over Paris in Region XIV East Zone play. The Bulldogs venture out of conference action Monday for a doubleheader in Austin against Concordia JV at Tornado Field before they will see the BPCC Cavaliers for their next three-game weekend series.
Game 2 Sunday: Navarro 12, Paris 4
Third baseman Alex Samples went 4-for-4, catcher Luis Trevino knocked in four runs, and DH Francisco DeJesus clubbed a two-run homer as the Bulldogs managed to abbreviate the nightcap, thanks to an eight-run rule lead after seven innings.
NC sent 12 batters to the plate during a six-run sixth off three Paris hurlers to put the game away.
With Navarro trailing Dragon starter Chris Muller 1-0, DeJesus tagged a two-run shot to the left of the centerfield wall and highlighted a three-run first inning. Trevino was aboard ahead of the homer, thanks to his RBI-single to rightfield that brought home shortstop Kenniel Rivera with the tying run. Rivera had belted a one-out double.
Paris equalized matters at 3 in the top of the second when shortstop Austin Tours slugged a two-run homer off NC starter Tate Gillespie. Tours hit his home run after a single by rightfielder Chad Hardy.
PJC took a 4-3 lead in its third when Hardy banged a two-out single to left that platyed catcher Garrett Moon, who doubled off the leftfield fence.
From that point, the Bulldogs hammered out nine unanswered runs and Gillespie settled down to cruise to a route-going pitching victory that featured four innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball.
A two-out, third-inning rally put the ‘Dogs on top to stay as second baseman Robert Salazar drilled an RBI single and first baseman Collin Chaney added a run-scoring double.
Cole Williams began Navarro’s fourth with a single, moved to second on Jack McDonnell’s sacrifice bunt, took third on a Rivera groundout and scored the Bulldogs’ sixth run on a Muller wild pitch.
Pinch-hitters Andrew Morales and Ben Martin came through with base hits that started a station-to-station rally in the sixth. Martin hit the first offering to left to score Chaney with the inning’s first run and a 7-4 lead. With the bases loaded, McDonnell drove an 0-2 pitch to rightfield to score Salazar with NC’s eighth run.
Exit Muller. Enter reliever Parker White into a bases-loaded jam.
Trevino worked the count to 3-1 and hammered a two-out, three-run double to left for an 11-4 NC lead. Samples followed with a run-scoring single to left for his fourth hit of the game.
Game 1 Sunday: Paris 7, Navarro 6
Paris leftfielder J.T. vanGelder belted a two-run homer to rightfield off reliever Eric Sandoz to break a 5-all tie in the top of the sixth.
Navarro rallied from as much as a four-run deficit. The Bulldogs put the tying run on during the home seventh,
The Dragons touched Navarro starter Connor Reich for three two-out runs in the first as third baseman Nolan Ritchie hit a two-run triple and first baseman Thomas Jeffries added a run-scoring single. Ritchie got his third RBI of the day with a one-out single in the third that plated Kyle Kaufman as PJC mounted a four-run lead.
In the third, NC cut the lead in half on Rivera’s sacrifice fly to centerfielder that plated Williams, and DeJesus’ two-out double that delivered Trevino.
Williams clubbed a two-run triple that scored Salazar and Munoz to tie it. Later, Williams beat a throw home from Rivera’s grounder to shortstop and gave NC a 5-4 lead.
Friday: Navarro 8, Paris 7
Williams tripled to clear the bases during a four-run Navarro fifth inning and Samples slugged a two-run homer in the sixth to lift the Bulldogs to their eighth consecutive victory.
Navarro overcame a 5-1 deficit to remain unbeaten in league play. Gary Watkins pitched four innings of one-hit, scoreless relief to pick up the victory. Mark Geisel came on in the ninth and wriggled out of some difficulty to claim the save. Geisel induced a comebacker for the final out and stranded the potential tying run at third.
EAST ZONE STANDINGS / Through March 20
Team All Conf
Navarro 18-8 8-1
Bossier Parish 15-12 6-3
Paris 16-12 5-4
Panola 20-8 4-5
Angelina 9-15 3-6
Northeast 6-20 1-8
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