By MIKE MONTFORT —
As great as the weekend has been for Navarro baseball, it isn’t over yet.
The Bulldogs (29-9/18-6) completed a three-game weekend sweep of Bossier Parish Friday and will carry a six-game winning streak Monday to Gainesville where they will face the North Central Texas College Lions in a non-conference matchup.
NC also learned Sunday that its Region XIV East Zone lead ballooned to four games as the Paris Dragons (18-27/7-17) swept a doubleheader from second-place Northeast Texas (28-16/14-10) by 12-11 and 6-1 counts at Hub Hollis Field. Additionally, wet grounds in Carthage forced Sunday’s delayed twinbill between Angelina (25-17/13-9) and Panola (30-16/12-10) to 1 pm Monday start.
To reiterate, the 8th weekend of East Zone baseball is not over. And to further emphasize, with three-game series remaining against Panola and Northeast, the league race is not over, either.
Coach Matt Podjenski’s Bulldogs got some early, extra rest this weekend after securing three-game sweep in 20 innings of work — downing the Cavaliers 12-4 in a seven-inning Thursday game and posting 5-1 and 13-3 victories Friday.
THURSDAY GAME 1
Navarro 12, BPCC 4
Freshman righthander Austin Faith joined lefthander Paul Dickens as a seven-game winner on the staff and the Bulldogs broke loose with 13 hits — including five extra-base hits and Noah Menchaca’s two-run homer that provided the final runs in the sixth inning.
Faith, Ryan Johnston and Johnny Panatex combined on a eight-hitter and struck out eight in the game shortened by the run-rule. Faith walked six, allowed two hits and surrendered four earned runs in his 71-pitch, two-inning start. Johnston fanned four during three innings of five-hit relief. Panatex worked two scoreless innings while throwing 13 pitches.
Navarro jumped on BPCC lefthander Will Hine for seven runs during the first two innings of play.
Six Bulldogs had two hits apiece: leadoff-hitting centerfielder Derek Mueller, shortstop Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo, rightfielder Josh Ragan, designated hitter Tim Bechtold, second baseman Matt Wood and leftielder Wesley Powell. They accounted for 4 extra-base hits, 10 runs scored and 7 RBI.
FRIDAY (Doubleheader Game 1)
Navarro 5, BPCC 1
Freshman righthander Pepper Jones and Colin Wyman combined on a two-hitter in Friday’s seven-inning game.
Jones threw 60 pitches in four innings of work to secure the win. He allowed one hit, one unearned run, walked two and struck out two. Wyman followed with 44 pitches in three innings of one-hit relief to close the game and claim his first save.
Ragan and Cardoza-Oquendo each slapped two hits to pace Navarro’s six-hit attack. Ragan’s first-inning double drove in the game’s first run off route-going starter and loser Tanner Johnson. NC added two runs in the third and fourth innings.
FRIDAY (Doubleheader Game 2)
Navarro 13, BPCC 3
Catcher Beau Orlando collected four hits and was a home run shy of the cycle as the Bulldogs scored another run-ruled victory. The Bulldogs battered 16 hits off three BPCC pitchers.
Freshman Cole Wesneski struck out seven and scattered six hits through five innings of pitching to claim the victory, while Trey Becerra threw 19 pitches during the sixth inning to wrap it up.
Orlando went 4-for-4, scored three runs and knocked in two for Navarro. Orlando, Woods and Kyle Landers each tripled in the game. Landers, Wood, Menchaca and Cardoza-Oquendo each socked two hits.