For the second straight night, Navarre left the bases loaded and the potential tying and winning runs stranded in a gut-wrenching District 1-5A high school baseball loss.
Milton scored five sixth-inning runs Friday and hung on for a 6-5 win in a game Navarre had led 4-1. A night earlier, Pace scored two runs in the top of the seventh in a 4-2 victory.
The loss at Milton dropped the Raiders to 4-5 overall, 2-4 in district competition.
Navarre relief pitcher Cory Catyb walked Cody Lowe to start the Panthers' sixth inning. Jordan Martin doubled Lowe to third. The umpire called a balk on Catyb, scoring Lowe and moving Martin to third. Martin scored on a wild pitch before Tanner Lunsford hit a line drive to center field for the first out of the inning. Buddy Blackmon, pinch-hitting for C.J. Stell, singled and Trae Walsingham drew a base on balls, prompting Raiders' coach Mickey O'Quinn to call senior Nick Combs to the mound.
Combs hit Harold Henderson, the first batter he faced, to load the bases. Justin Venable, pinch-running for Blackmon, scored and Walsingham and Henderson moved up on Paul Young's sacrifice fly to center field.
Combs hit Milton cleanup hitter Charles Jimenez with a curve ball up and in, but the umpire ruled that Jimenez didn't try to avoid the pitch and called ball three. Jimenez ripped the next pitch to the fence in right center for a two-run triple. Tyler Watson took a called third strike to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Justin Jordan greeted Walsingham, the Panthers second pitcher, with a single to start the top of the seventh inning. Devante Taylor doubled and Cale Secondine walked to load the bases with no outs. Jacob Terry hit a fly ball to right field and Devin Colonel struck out looking before the umpire called Blackmon for catcher's interference and awarded pinch-hitter Kyle Camilli first base, scoring Brock Secondine who was pinch-running for Jordan.
Freshman Gavin Wehby, the Raiders' leadoff hitter, popped up to the pitcher for the game's final out.
Taylor started the game for Navarre and allowed an unearned run and six hits in four innings. He struck out five Panthers, hit two and walked none. Milton's first run scored on a two-base outfield error with two outs and the next batter made the final out of the first inning. Unofficially, Taylor has pitched 19 innings this season without allowing an earned run. He also led the Raiders' attack with two singles and two doubles in four at-bats with a stolen base, a run scored and a run-batted-in. Terry went two-for-three and also stole a base, scored a run and drove in a run.
Jimenez, Young and Lowe had two hits each for the Panthers. Brad Hardison started and pitched five innings for Milton, allowing three earned runs on five hits and a walk and striking out five Raiders. Walsingham earned the win in relief; Catyb was the losing pitcher.
Milton, which beat the Raiders 6-2 on Feb. 19 in Navarre, swept the regular-season home-and-home series between the rivals.
Navarre is scheduled to play its next six games at home, starting Monday with a 7:30 p.m. game against Ezell-Harding High School from Antioch, Tenn. The Raiders will play Prattville, Ala., Christian Academy on Tuesday, March 15; Gulf Breeze on March 17; and Harrison County High School from Cynthiana, Ky., on March 23 before resuming district play with back-to-back home games against Tate and Pine Forest on March 24-25.