Chris Wheeler had four of Navarre's nine hits, including two doubles, and drove in five runs to lead the Raiders to a 12-7 high school baseball victory Tuesday against visiting Lone Oak, Ky.
"We were just having fun," Wheeler, a senior jack-of-all-trades, said after the game. "We were more relaxed; we weren't thinking so hard and just played ball."
Despite the lopsided score, Navarre (10-10) had to come from behind -- twice. The Purple Flash (8-3) built a 3-0 lead before the Raiders scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Lone Oak added four in the fourth to take a 7-4 lead, but Navarre erupted for three runs in the fifth and five in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Devante Taylor started the game and pitched three innings for Navarre. He gave up three runs -- two of them earned -- on two hits, one a two-run homerun by Sam Goode in the first inning, and a walk. He fanned three Purple Flash batters. Brock Secondine (4-2) started the fourth inning and finished the game for the Raiders, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits and a hit batter. He struck out six.
Kyle Camilli scored three runs without a base hit. He was hit by a pitch, reached on an error and walked and rounded the bases each time. Jacob Terry, who entered the game for first baseman Justin Jordan in the fifth inning, singled, reached on an error and scored twice for the Raiders. Dusty Jones, Cale Secondine, Taylor and Gavin Wehby had Navarre's other hits.
Navarre benefited from six Purple Flash errors, four by third baseman Goode. Starter Eric Winn gave up all 12 Raiders' runs, just seven earned, on eight hits, two walks, three hit batters and a wild pitch in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six Raiders. Cody Draffen gave up a hit but got the last two outs of the sixth inning for Lone Oak.
Goode went 2-for-4 and knocked in three Purple Flash runs. Pope was 2-for-2 and scored twice and Lucas Englert singled twice. Leadoff hitter Alex Neimoff singled and scored twice.
Jordan was shaken up in the fourth inning after a bad throw from the infield led him into the path of Lone Oak's Winn, who was running to first. The two collided and Jordan appeared to have the breath knocked out of him. After being checked by a trainer, Jordan stayed in the game, but Navarre coach Mickey O'Quinn said he noticed some unusual body language by the junior. When Jordan came to the dugout after the inning, he complained of dizziness. Suspecting a possible concussion, O'Quinn ordered Jordan out of the game and moved Camilli from third to first, Wheeler from right field to third and put Terry in right field.
"I didn't want to take any chances," O'Quinn said of benching Jordan. "You don't want to mess around with something like that. As soon as he told me he was dizzy I took him out."
Terry had been the regular right fielder until swelling in his knee caused him to miss time last week in the Northwest Florida Bulldog Classic. O'Quinn said the joint seemed to be bothering him in pregame drills but Terry turned in one of the game's best defensive plays, a running catch of a drive down the right field line in the sixth, and ran the bases well on offense.
"We don't have a lot of depth at any one position," O'Quinn said. "What we do have is several kids who can play more than one position."
The Raiders are scheduled to play junior varsity and varsity games at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, April 12 at Escambia. The Gators and Raiders are tied for third in District 1-5A with identical 3-5 records. Navarre beat Escambia 4-3 March 8 in Navarre, but O'Quinn called next week's district match "the most important game of the season." A win ensures the Raiders will be the home team in a first-round district game with Escambia, which is hosting the 1-5A tournament.