By MIKE MONTFORT —
The weekend Region XIV East Zone baseball series here with Bossier Parish has been re-set, according to Navarro head coach Matt Podjenski on Tuesday afternoon.
Navarro (26-19/15-6) and Bossier Parish (15-25/6-15) now will play a 3 pm Thursday single-game and a 1 pm Friday doubleheader at Perry D. Graham Field.
The series was pushed up one day in advance of the increasing possibility of rain Friday night and Saturday.
National Weather Service forecasts Wednesday indicate that there is a 29 percent chance of rain Friday night, an 80 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms with gusty south-southeast winds Saturday, and a 50 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs are riding a three-game wining streak after Tuesday’s 11-8 non-conference win over Blinn at Brenham and last Sunday’s conference doubleheader sweep of Paris.
Navarro’s most recent games:
TUESDAY, APRIL 17
Navarro 11, Blinn 8
BRENHAM — Derek Mueller collected five hits and scored four runs, and the Bulldogs pounded four home runs in a 17-hit attack that subdued Blinn at Leroy Dreyer Field.
Mueller, thrust into the leadoff role Tuesday, responded with four singles and a bunt base hit in six trips to the plate as Navarro secured its third straight win and improved to 26-19 overall.
Josh Ragan slammed a two-run, first-inning homer (9) off Blinn starter Kyle Sweeney, and turned in a 4-for-6 day with four runs-batted-in on the afternoon.
Leftfielder Zion Mayberry belted his first two home runs of the season in his first two plate appearances Tuesday. Mayberry’s one-out solo homer in the second sailed over the centerfield fence and spawned a three-run inning that gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead. His fourth-inning leadoff homer to left gave NC a 6-2 advantage.
Shortstop Kalen Hammer smacked a one-out solo homer in the top of a two-run ninth that extended a 9-8 Navarro lead.
Navarro’s fourth of six pitchers, freshman Trey Becerra, picked up his first victory of the season since a February 3 win at Weatherford. Sophomore righthander Asher Cook threw 15 pitches and struck out two to record his sixth save of the season. NC freshman starter Tanner Riley threw 61 pitches in three innings of work, allowing two hits, three walks, and two earned runs while striking out two.
SUNDAY, APRIL 15
Navarro 9-11, Paris 0-3 (2nd, 8 innings)
Lefthander Paul Dickens twirled a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in Game 1, while righthander Cole Wesneski went 6.1 innings and combined with two other pitchers on a run-ruled, four-hitter in Game 2.
The doubleheader victory gave Navarro its fifth consecutive best-of-three-game conference series. The Bulldogs had to rally for this series win after suffering a nightmarish 7-6 Thursday loss at Hub Hollis Field in Paris, where they stranded 14 runners and committed three errors that led to six unearned runs for the Dragons.
In the nightcap, Wesneski secured his first win with his most lengthy start of the season. Wesneski threw 53 strikes among his 89 pitches, allowing four hits, three walks and three earned runs while striking out five. Two of the four hits he allowed were home runs by PJC third baseman Grant Gomez. Riley threw 10 pitches and struck out both batters he faced to close out the seventh inning. Johnny Panatex threw 16 pitches in the eighth inning and struck out two more Dragons.
The second game ended early when catcher Beau Orlando belted his fourth home run of the season, depositing Cannon Davis’ fourth pitch for a walkoff that invoked the run-rule.
Josh Ragan, Wesley Powell and Noah Menchaca had multiple-hit games as Navarro collected 13 hits off four Paris pitchers.
In Game 1, Dickens (7-2, 2.46) cruised and the Bulldogs finally erupted for seven fifth-inning runs as Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo, Josh Ragan, Scott Hastings, Kyle Landers and Derek Mueller each drove in runs during the fifth. Hastings went 2-for-4 and knocked in three runs to pace Navarro’s seven-hit attack, while Cardoza-Oquendo had a third-inning triple that plated Justin Moore with NC’s first run.