Offense comes to life for Blue Wahoos

Sebastian Elizalde doesn’t change anything in his day-to-day routine as a hitter. It seems to be working well.

Monday night against Jackson is a prime example.

Elizalde stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos already ahead by five runs, and crushed the ball to right field for a solo home run, his second of the year.

It was his second hit of the night and helped propel Pensacola to a 9-3 win over the Generals at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

“Every day is the same thing. I try to have a good approach at the plate and get good pitches to hit,” Elizalde said.

Elizalde, in his first season of Double-A baseball, also tallied a two-run double, extending his hitting streak to nine games. The first-inning hit gave Pensacola a 2-0 lead.

It also highlighted the kind of night, and really, the kind of series it has been for the Blue Wahoos, who have seen their bats come alive after losing the series opener 1-0 to Jackson Friday.

Pensacola (12-7) has cranked out 25 runs on 32 hits in their last three games, all wins, and clinched their third series of the season.

“Hitting is contagious,” second-year manager Pat Kelly said. “So is not hitting. We went through a stretch where we didn’t hit the ball well. The guys are feeding off each other and Elizalde has been a big key for us.”

Phillip Ervin wasn’t bad either. He also belted two hits, including a two-run home run in the seventh that sailed over the wall in left and into the bay, stretching the Blue Wahoos’ lead to 7-0.

Tony Renda came through with a home run as well, his two-run shot going over the wall in left in the second inning. It was his first of the year.

Calten Daal also tallied two hits, not bad for a guy who suffered a concussion in his first at-bat of the year and was playing in his first game since the injury.

“Just to get him back in the game for him to get a hit in his first time up was terrific,” Kelly said. “He’s an exciting player. We’re going to have fun watching him this summer.”

Starting pitcher Amir Garrett is going to be fun to watch as well. He nailed down his first Double-A win of his career, striking out nine in 6 2/3 scoreless innings of work.

Garrett, a former four-star basketball recruit out of Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and a rising star in the Cincinnati Reds organization, retired the final 12 batters he faced.

“It feels great to get my first win in Double-A,” Garrett said. “My teammates came out hot today. We have great bats in our lineup. When we get on the board first, I feel very confident I can hold the game.”

Not only was he thrilled with the run support provided by the Blue Wahoos’ high-powered offense, but he enjoyed coming off the field to a standing ovation.

“I didn’t even know what to do,” Garrett said. “I appreciated it. The fan base here is awesome.”

Pensacola already has 12 wins less than a month into the season, a stark contrast to a year ago when they won only 25 games in the first half of the Southern League season.

“We have a lot of talent and a good squad,” Elizalde said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”

Read more about the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the April 28 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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