PENSACOLA -- Navarre rallied from behind once Tuesday but couldn't overcome Escambia's eight-run sixth inning in a season-ending 12-5 loss to the Gators.
Third-seeded Milton beat No. 6 Pine Forest 8-3 in the other District 1-5A high school baseball tournament first-round game at Escambia High School. In Wednesday's semifinals, Milton was scheduled to play No. 2 Tate at 4:30 p.m. and the host Gators were to meet top-seeded Pace at 7 p.m. The district championship game is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Escambia (10-15) and Navarre (14-12) both posted 4-6 records in district play, but Navarre earned a higher tournament seeding thanks to two one-run wins against the Gators.
Raiders' starting pitcher Devante Taylor struggled, giving up three first-inning runs, before Navarre batted around and scored all five of its runs in the bottom of the third inning. Head coach Mickey O'Quinn relieved Taylor after the senior walked Escambia third baseman Jake Jacobs to lead off the fifth. Anthony Bushey's one-out double off Justin Jordan, who relieved Taylor, scored Jacobs to pull the Gators to within a run, but the Raiders' real problems came in the sixth.
Andrew Tindell, Escambia's leadoff hitter, singled and moved to second on Jake Durant's sacrifice bunt. With one out, Tyler Trussell doubled down the left-field line to score Tindell with the tying run. Jacob Terry took the mound after Jordan plunked Jake Jacobs with a pitch. Justin Simpson singled home Trussell with the eventual winning run, moving Jacobs to third, before Terry hit Bushey with a pitch to load the bases.
Larry Eaton reached and Jacobs and Simpson scored on an infield. Terry walked Devan Harriman to reload the bases, prompting O'Quinn to call on senior Nick Combs, the Raiders' fourth pitcher and third of the inning. Deshawn Sellers reached on an outfield error that scored Bushey before Bushey grounded to shortstop Kyle Camilli, who tossed the ball to second baseman Jason Frederick to force Sellers with the inning's second out. Eaton scored on the play. Durant's two-run single ended the Gators' scoring but Escambia sent 14 batters to the plate and scored eight runs on four hits, three errors, two hit batters and two bases on balls.
The Raiders scored all of its runs on Escambia starter Trussell with two outs in the third. Frederick started the rally with a single, moved to second on Taylor's single and third on a base-on-balls to Camilli. He scored on a walk drawn by Jordan.
Taylor scored on Trussell's wild pitch, Chris Wheeler drew a third-straight walk from the senior lefthander to reload the bases and Cale Secondine drove home Camilli, pinch runner Kyle Rogers and Wheeler with a single before Justin Morgan struck out to end the inning.
The Gators, who improved to 10-15 overall with the win, collected 12 hits to Navarre's five. Tindell had three hits in five at-bats, scored three runs and drove in one for Escambia. Simpson was 2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and three RBIs, Trussell went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs, Durant was 2-for-3 with a run and two batted in, and Bushey had two hits in four at-bats with a double, a runs scored and an RBI.
Trussell allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in four innings pitched. Joe Scapecchi earned the win in relief, allowing just one hit in three innings.
Taylor and Cale Secondine each had two hits for the Raiders. Jordan suffered the loss.