To use an ancient analogy – three ups, three downs, end of a season. Three times this 2019 high school baseball season, the Raiders faced the Escambia Gators. The results of each – 6-2 on April 8, 9-5 on April 30, and finally, 4-0 last Friday in a 7A regional quarterfinal – had the young men wearing maroon, silver and black adding another loss on their record.
The final loss ended Navarre’s postseason journey. It was the last game in a Raiders uniform for the 12 seniors.
Going into Friday’s matchup, Navarre head baseball coach Jon Boddy was aware that Escambia’s starting pitcher Will Browne had a 2-0 season record against the home team.
“He’s a good high school pitcher,” Boddy said. “Nothing overpowering, but he throws a lot of strikes.”
Raider hitters took their cuts and hit a lot of pitches. The issue was that the hits were commonly right at a defender or they made a good defensive play.
On the other hand, the Gators struck fast in the first inning. A one-out rally pushed two runs across the plate against starter Kaleb Hellard and the Raider defense. This was the senior hurler’s second start and third appearance in the postseason.
Escambia added insurance runs in the third and fourth innings against Hellard, and that was more than enough for Browne.