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Chipola crushes Gulf Coast 12-2

Updated Apr 23, 2017 at 12:08 PM

 

By PAT McCANN
News Herald Executive Sports Editor

 

MARIANNA — This much abundantly was clear following Chipola’s 12-2 win over Gulf Coast on Saturday in Panhandle Conference baseball.

 

The Indians, 20-4, 40-8, are a very worthy conference champion. Second-place Northwest Florida entered Saturday’s games five behind Chipola in the loss column.

 

The other factor is that Gulf Coast now is fully in desperation mode. Any loss by the Commodores in their season-ending series with Pensacola starting Monday or victory by Tallahassee when it plays a finishing two-game set with Northwest Florida gives TCC sole possession of third place and potential state tournament slot.

 

Conversely, should Gulf Coast sweep Pensacola and Tallahassee lose twice to Northwest Florida both teams would finish 11-13 in the conference and the Commodores own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles.

 

That seemed a moot point on Saturday as Chipola was dominant against Gulf Coast, 9-13, 31-16, which has been forced to finish its final three weeks of the season without a pair of regulars, center fielder Jacquez Koonce and first baseman Alec Aleywine. Considering that the Commodores didn’t boast one of their more potent lineups this spring, those losses thus far have been noteworthy.

 

Not that they would have made all that much difference in this matchup with the Indians that ended in six innings. Evan Steele took advantage of a rare start to pitch four strong innings for his second win of the season and Gulf Coast melted down in the field early with two errors leading to two unearned runs as this one had gotten away by the third inning.

 

The Indians raked starter Dylan Cyphert, an Alabama commit, for seven hits in the third inning. Reynaldo Rivera had a run-scoring double and Brody Wofford, Jacob Silverstein and Jose Caballero RBI singles as the deficit quickly grew to 7-0.

 

Andrew Bechtold walked and Rivera drilled his 12th home run of the season in the fourth inning against reliever Trey Leonard. That made it 9-0.

 

Steele, who surrendered a leadoff single by Jordan Tylski to open the game, ceded the mound to Junior Harding, trying to return from arm trouble, to begin the fifth. Steele allowed only that one hit in four shutout innings.

 

Harding’s wildness led to Gulf Coast scoring twice in the sixth. Alec Wisely walked and Jackson Webb, Carnegy Calzado and Eli Taylor all were hit by a pitch, Taylor’s getting a run across. Joe Sibeto added a sacrifice fly, the Commodores scoring twice without

a hit.

 

Chipola scored three times against Jackson Cullen, Gulf Coast’s third pitcher, to end the game by the run rule in the bottom of the sixth inning. Francisco Urbaez had a run-scoring sacrifice fly and Trey Dawson and Caballero scored the final two runs on a Gulf Coast error.

 

The line score was telling, Gulf Coast with 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 errors. Chipola had 12 runs on 11 hits and 1 error.

Gulf Coast plays at Pensacola 5 p.m. Monday in a must-win game for the Commodores.

 

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