Navarro rallied to secure a 7-6 Game 1 win in its series with Angelina, so the East Zone leaders carry a three-game winning streak with them Saturday to Lufkin to play a 1 pm doubleheader.
Coach Matt Podjenski’s Bulldogs (19-15-1 / 12-4) came back from a 5-2 deficit with four seventh-inning runs, and then traded ninth-inning runs with the Roadrunners before walking the game off in controversial fashion.
Navarro broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the ninth as leadoff-hitting rightfielder Josh Ragan was hit by a Tyler Brockner pitch. Ragan advanced to second on Braden Williams’ 3-4 sacrifice bunt. Centerfielder Matt Munoz drove a 1-0 pitch to rightfield for his fourth hit of the day. Rightfielder Jacob Finke charged the one-hopper and threw a strike up the line to catcher Tucker Redden, but sliding Ragan appeared to avoid the tag, swiped a hand across home plate and was ruled safe.
In the previous half inning, AC scrambled to tie it against lefthanded reliever Brandon Ivey. Second baseman Antonio Lima, the No. 9 hitter, reached on an infield single. Lima took second on Evian Benjamin’s sacrifice bunt and moved to third base on pinch hitter Garrett Kochakian’s flyout to centerfield. With two out, Ivey was ahead in the count 0-2 to Jacob Finke when the Navarro pitcher uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Lima to score the tying run.
Angelina scored 4 runs on six hits in the first two innings off NC righthanded starter Gary Watkins. Designated hitter Josh Elvia slugged a two-out solo homer, his 8th, to right-centerfield.
Lefthander Paul Dickens worked 3.1 innings of three-hit relief and Mark Geisel added two scoreless innings before the Bulldogs mounted a seventh-inning rally.
AC starter Jarod Sprinkle threw 96 pitches in six innings of work, scattered seven hits and departed with a 5-2 lead.
Consecutive one-out singles by Dawson Shelburn, Noah Menchaca, Jacob Walker and Caleb Scires, plus a Ragan sacrifice fly translated into a game-tying, three-run rally. Braden Williams then laced a double into right-centerfield that enabled Scires to score Navarro’s go-ahead run.
Navarro’s come-from-behind victory managed to keep the Bulldogs one game ahead of the Panola Ponies in the East Zone race as the second-half of league play starts this weekend.
In Thursday’s other nine-inning, single games, Panola slipped past Bossier Parish 9-8 at Bossier City, La., and Paris downed Northeast Texas 8-4 in a 6 pm twilight start at Mount Pleasant.
Saturday’s doubleheaders will shift playing sites. While Navarro and Angelina clash at 1 pm in Lufkin, Northeast and Paris meet at PJC’s Hub Hollis Field. BPCC plays Panola a 2 pm doubleheader at Carthage.
SCORE BY INNINGS:
Angelina 130 000 101 — 6-11-0
Navarro 110 000 401 — 7-14-0
WP: Ivey. LP: Brockner.
HR — Angelina: Elvia (8), Benjamin (1)
LOB — AC 11, NC 9
NC Top Hitters — Munoz 4/4, R, GW-RBI; Walker 2/5, R, RBI; Scires 2/5, 2 R, RBI; Williams 2/4, R, RBI; Menchaca 2/3, R.