Navarre’s 2016 baseball season began in earnest Feb. 9, and the team went 2-1 in week one. The Raiders recorded blow out wins over Gulf Breeze and Washington and lost a close one to Pace at the end of the week.
Navarre hurler Matt Cronin tossed a no-hitter against Gulf Breeze in the first game of the 2015 season. It took until game two of the 2016 campaign for a Raider pitcher to match that feat.
Junior Brandon “BJ” Villanueva, making his first-ever varsity start, did not allow a hit last Thursday night when he took the mound against the Washington Wildcats.
On making his first start Villanueva said, “I was pretty nervous before the game, but I settled down after I warmed up.” “I didn’t even realize I had a no-hitter going until the sixth inning.”
The “no no” was preserved by a spectacular defensive play with one out in the seventh. Short stop Michael Sandle went deep in the hole to his right, snagged a ground ball, wheeled and threw to first to barely beat the runner for the second out. The next Villanueva offering was hit in the air to right field where Tyler Rebber squeezed it for the third and final out.
While the Raider pitchers were impressive in week one, the offense got off to a fast start as well. Raider batters banged out 35 hits in the three games, including 16 in the 11-1 over Washington.
Read more in the Feb. 18 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.