‘Dogs head to BPCC series with sweep of Concordia

BOSSIER, La. — The Region XIV East Zone-leading Navarro Bulldogs come here Thursday for the start of a key three-game series against the second-place Bossier Parish Cavaliers.

The pre-Easter holiday series is crucial for the league race as BPCC finds itself in ‘catch’ mode.  The Cavaliers stand two games behind Navarro, and hope to remain within hailing distance after the 3 pm Thursday single game and the 1 pm Friday doubleheader.

Coach Matt Podjenski’s Bulldogs, winners of 11 of their last 12 games, could create some serious separation in the standings. Should they pull off a third zone series sweep of the young season, they could be more difficult to find than Easter Eggs on Sunday morning.

Navarro enters play Thursday, having spawned a three-game winning streak thanks, in part, to a non-conference sweep of Concordia College JV at Austin, 3-1 and 8-4.  The two seven-inning wins Monday at Tornado Field pushed the Bulldogs to the 20-win plateau for the season.

The Bulldogs got to experience more success with some lineup experimentation and modest, careful use of Navarro Wholestaff on the mound.

In review, a total of seven Bulldog pitchers combined on a pair of three-hitters.  Three pitchers — starter and winner Ryan Buss and Dalton Blake Adams and Matt Kelley — struck out eight Concordia hitters in the first game.  In the nightcap,  starter Carlos Carrillo, winning reliever Gary Watkins, plus Eric Sandoz and Mark Geisel fanned 10 Concordia batters.  Only Game 1 starter Buss worked as many as three innings and threw as many as 48 pitches.

Game 1: Navarro 3, Concordia 1

Third baseman Alex Samples went 3-for-3 with two run-scoring doubles in the opener.

Samples, who strung together seven consecutive hits spanning two games, popped his two-baggers in the first and the fifth inning for NC.  DH Andrew Morales singled in Kenniel Rivers with NC’s first run.  Rivera drew a one-out walk and took second base on Luis Trevino’s single to rightfield.

Game 2: Navarro 8, Concordia 4

The Bulldogs battled back from a three-run first-inning deficit created by a pair of Concordia home runs.

Samples and Morales each had two runs-batted-in, and Blake Adams went two-for-three and scored three runs to complete the sweep.

NC scored in the top of the second when Morales’ groundout to second base brought home Adams, who had a one-out triple.

Navarro’s 6-9 hitters in a shuffled second-game lineup (Morales, Dylan Lewis, Abran Luevano and Ben Martin) were a combined 5-for-10 with three walks, three runs scored and five RBI.

Navarro took the lead for good in the fourth when it pieced together four singles with two walks and created three runs.  Run-scoring hits by rightfielder Dylan Lewis and leftfielder Ben Martin, plus a bases-loaded walk by Abran Luevano keyed the rally.

Adams walked with two out and scored a fifth-inning run on Morales’ double to rightfield.