The Navajo Baseball Tournament began yesterday as host Navajo downed Chatty 9-1. Holdyn Mandrell recorded his first high school win on the mound striking out five and yielding five hits. The Navajo defense helped with two ground ball double plays.
Curtis Goodson made some noise at the plate going 2-3 with a single, double, and one RBI. Paul Krehbiel was 1-3 and drove a run in with a single. “We collected 10 hits as a team,” said coach Winters. “Mandrell did a great job of pitching ahead in the count and we put some good at bats together up and down the order all game long.”
Navajo then faced Fletcher in the second round game. Fletcher nipped Navajo 6-5 as Nathan Cross was saddled with the loss after coming in relief work for the 7th inning and gave up a walk-off single.
Navajo fell behind 4–1 in the third inning, then battle back with three runs in the fourth inning. “We battled to throw strikes and stay ahead in the count,” Winters added. “We walked in the tying run in the fifth with the bases-loaded. That cannot happen at the high school level. If a kid gets a hit in that situation we can feel better knowing he earned it. When we execute, we are really tough to beat. Our pitchers need to develop into pitchers, not just throwers. The only way they overcome this is executing during a game. I do believe they will come through, but it may take some time.”
Offensively Max Smith had a 2–3 game and drove in two Indians. Jacob Hall was 2–3 on two singles. Curtis Goodson was 2-3 on two singles as well. “Hitting wise and defensively, we are playing well,” said Winters. “We play for third place on Saturday at 1 p.m. Today’s schedule is Sterling versus Geronimo at 12 noon, and Riverside versus Olustee at 2:15 p.m., Winners play at 4:30 p.m., and losers play at 6:45 p.m. Saturday schedule is fifth place at 11 a.m., third place at 1 p.m., and finals are at 3 p.m.
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext. 2076