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Late home runs doom Gulf Coast in final home game

Tyler Waldrep

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Chipola scored five runs in ninth inning thanks to a pair of timely home runs from Joshua Rivera and Alex Arauz to secure a 12-6 road victory over Gulf Coast State (26-21, 8-15 Panhandle Conference) on Friday afternoon.

“Yeah they knocked the wind out of our sails a little bit,” Gulf Coast State coach Mike Kandler said.

The home crowd’s hope for a rally against Chipola (17-6, 30-15 Panhandle Conference) ignited when Brett Wisely’s double in the eighth inning drove in Stevie Moffatt to end a scoring drought for the Commodores that began in the fifth inning. At the time, Gulf Coast had runners on second and third, but were unable to even the score facing two outs already.

Wisley finished with two hits, a team-high two RBI and one run. Moffatt finished with two hits, one RBI and a game-high three runs.

Reid Halfacre finished with a team-high three hits and one run batting between them. In total, Gulf Coast’s first three batters finished with seven of the team’s 10 hits on Friday.

“It’s good to see that they had good days and it is what it is,” Kandler said.

The Gulf Coast coach said he didn’t think the rest of the offense cost his team the game. His tone was a little different when asked about the pitching rotation – including Peyton Knight, Parker Dean, Jack Guzek and closer Alex Lozado – that gave up a total of 20 hits.

“None of them were good enough today,” Kandler said. “I think they competed hard, but their execution was not good enough.”

Knight started the game for the Commodores and finished with seven hits and three strikeouts through 4 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed three runs, including one in the opening inning.

Gulf Coast took its first lead of the game, 4-3, in the third inning when Kelly’s double drove in both Halfacre and Wisely.

Moffatt scored for the second time on Friday when he hit a home run in the fourth inning. Chipola evened things up again in the fifth inning when Connor Kehl’s double scored Arauz and Julio Carrion.

Dean recorded three strikeouts in just under two innings of work, although Chipola did manage to score one run against him in the sixth inning when Arauz drove in Ivan Johnson to retake the lead.

Dean was replaced on the mound by Guzek in the seventh inning. The Commodores started off with two quick outs for the second time in the game. They once again failed to get off the field unscathed when Jordan Anderson hit a home run to give Chipola a 7-5 lead.

“Chipola swung the bat extremely well and we couldn’t stop them,” Kandler said. “So we competed with them, but if you can’t stop the other team you’re not going to beat them.”

When these two teams last met earlier this month they split the series 2-2 with the Commodores claiming the first two wins 11-6 and 11-9. Chipola won lower scoring affairs that finished 3-0 and 5-4.

The series against Chipola will resume on Saturday when Commodores hit the road on for their final game this season. The game will begin at 1 p.m.

“That’s up to them,” Kandler said when asked if the final game will be an emotional one for this group. “What each person puts into it. I’ve been doing this so long there’s not a whole lot of a emotion one way or the other.”

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