Baseball

By MIKE MONTFORT   LINK:   2018 Region 14 East All Conference Team       Navarro Baseball dominated the Region XIV East Zone All-Conference team released Monday as the league champions claimed 12 major awards. Coach Matt Podjenski's Bulldogs (35-20/23-7) secured seven first-team, two second-team and two honorable-mention spots on the mythical squad, in addition to one of the superlatives -- The Pitcher of The Year. Sophomore lefthander Paul Dickens (8-2, 2.64) was selected by coaches as the league's premier pitcher.  The Baylor pledge went 6-0 with a 1.56 earned run average and three shutouts during his nine league starts. First-team honors went to sophomore catcher Beau Orlando, first baseman Scott Hastings, shortstop Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo, outfielders Josh Ragan and Mason Holt, plus freshman righthanded pitchers Austin Faith and Pepper Jones. Second-team picks included designated hitter/first baseman Kyle Landers and Ryan Johnston. Honorable mentions went to third baseman Noah Menchaca and closer Asher Cook. All have played major roles for the Bulldogs as they closed the regular-season by winning 13 of the final 14 games and securing their third league title in four seasons.  NC won its zone by five game over runner-up Panola and six over third-place Northeast Texas. Orlando, the team's individual batting leader at .368, has...

BY MIKE MONTFORT   --- MOUNT PLEASANT -- The beat goes on for Navarro's Bulldog baseball team, which swept its weekend series from Northeast Texas and extended its streak to 12 wins in its last 13 games, as the East Zone champions snowballed momentum toward the Region XIV Tournament. The Bulldogs (35-20/23-7) will open tournament play at 8 pm Saturday in Lufkin against South Zone No. 4 seed Galveston (21-33) at the Larry Phillips Family Sports Complex. First-round pairings for the five-day, double-elimination tournament were finalized Sunday. Navarro clinched its third East Zone championship in four years on Wednesday as it crushed Northeast 11-3 in eight innings here.  Then, the Bulldogs finished off the regular season with a doubleheader sweep of 6-3 games at Eagle Field that enabled them to win the league by a gaping, 5-game spread. Opportunistic Panola took advantage of some Bulldog beneficence to vault over Northeast and become the East Zone's second seed on Sunday when it defeated the Cavaliers 4-2 in a re-scheduled, final regular-season game. Panola wasn't the only Region XIV squad to alter seeding on the final weekend. Navarro's first-round opponent, the Galveston Whitecaps, won three of four games from Wharton and used the head-to-head victory tiebreaker to...

A Class of 2018 and 2019 Showcase Camp is scheduled Monday, June 18, at Perry D. Graham Field on the Navarro College campus in Corsicana. The Showcase Camp here is presented by five of the state's top junior college baseball programs -- Navarro, Grayson, North Central Texas, Blinn and Hill Colleges. The Showcase helps prospects with name recognition for the fall and spring recruiting process. Individual evaluations of hitting mechanics, fielding ability, arm strength and speed are recorded during this professional-like camp.  Scrimmages after the morning tryouts will evaluate prospects in game-like conditions. Entry fees are in advance.  Registration on camp-day costs 0 cash. Click on the link below to access the three-page, printable PDF information, registration and waivers: Class of 2018 and 2019 Baseball Showcase  ...

It was a walkoff! Navarro Baseball's third Region XIV East Zone Championship in four years was accomplished on a walkoff.  A bases-loaded walkoff hit-by-pitch.  In the eighth inning. Northeast's fourth pitcher of the day, righthander Brody Curry, walked Scott Hastings with the bases full and then hit batters Beau Orlando and Tim Bechtold consecutively to give the Bulldogs the necessary three runs to enact the run-rule in the eighth inning. The strange, premature finish actually stunted Navarro's celebration of its 11-3 clincher near first base. Once the party started, the reality of an outright title and the East Zone's No.1 seed for the Region XIV Tournament at Lufkin May 12-16 began to take its grip.  The championship was the cherry on top of the win in the final game of the regular season at Perry D. Graham Field, where Navarro went 18-8. For Navarro (33-20/21-7), the conference baseball title is its third under head coach Matt Podjenski and the program's 16th since 1994. Wednesday's heroes were numerous: Starting pitcher Austin Faith (8-1, 3.08) became the team's first 8-game winner, claimed his seventh win in 10 league outings and remained unbeaten since a February 15 non-conference game at McLennan.  Faith threw 109 pitches in six...

BY MIKE MONTFORT BASEBALL PHOTO GALLERY LINK:     Keith's Sports Photos on Facebook ---  Someone heard a light scratching on the door Saturday evening. Upon closer investigation, the marks looked like those of a Bulldog that was ready to break over the threshold and return inside for its comforts. That was the story Saturday at Graham Field where Navarro split a doubleheader, won another weekend series 2-1, but was left to wait at the doorstep of a third Region XIV East Zone Championship in four seasons under coach Matt Podjenski. Combined with Northeast Texas' weekend sweep of Angelina, the Bulldogs know they have clinched no worse than a tie for the conference crown.  That's a good feeling heading into the final series of the regular season.  It could, however, turn into a great feeling next weekend as the Bulldogs battle the only obstacle in their way -- their only remaining zone contender, NTCC. Weather permitting, Navarro (32-20/20-7) is scheduled to host NTCC (32-18/17-10) for a 3 pm single-game Thursday at Perry D. Graham Field.  The teams are scheduled to wrap up the regular season with a 1 pm Saturday doubleheader at Eagle Field in Mount Pleasant. Navarro's captured every best-of-three weekend series it has played...