GC drops conference opener

Updated Mar 7, 2017 at 9:45 PM                        

By Pat McCann / The News Herald


PANAMA CITY — Tuesday provided a fairly solid indication of how the Panhandle Conference works in baseball.

Before Gulf Coast’s conference opener against Northwest Florida, the rest of the country apparently had discovered the Commodores as they were ranked fourth among Division I junior colleges.


The Raiders, coincidentally ranked No. 18, weren’t overly impressed and bounced Gulf Coast 8-6 at Bill Frazier Field.

The Commodores, 19-4, 0-1, and Raiders, 17-7, 1-0, have a rematch here at 5 p.m. Thursday before concluding their four-game

series with a doubleheader on Saturday in Niceville.


Northwest Florida built an 8-0 lead while handing Gulf Coast its second straight loss. The final was much closer than the reality of the competition.


With the Raiders stroking 0-2 and 1-2 pitches all over Frazier Field and the Commodores unable to solve Eric Orze’s offspeed deliveries, it quickly became 8-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning.


Gulf Coast finally responded with four consecutive singles for its first hits of the game, but it took a three-run ninth inning to make NWFS sweat a little and use three pitchers.


John Barr got pinch hitter Carnegy Calzado, representing the tying run, to pop out to second baseman Daino Deas to end it.

Gulf Coast also used three pitchers, starter Dylan Cyphert surrendering all eight runs on 10 hits and taking the loss.


“You’ve got to plan for today and tomorrow,” Gulf Coast coach Mike Kandler explained how he uses his pitching staff early in conference play. “You can’t blow it all out today, there’s 24 games so we have 23 more.”


Kandler wasn’t happy with the Raiders’ ability to produce hits at a disadvantage in the count.

“Seven of their 12 hits came with two strikes which is unacceptable,” Kandler said. “It’s just poor pitch selection. That’s on



The Raiders also had No. 9 hitter Joe Guidry, hitting just .148 entering the game at 4 for 27, finish 3 for 4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Hunter Oliver also had three hits for Northwest, Ross Goforth had a single and double and three RBIs and Gabe Austin lofted a two-run homer and a single.


Gulf Coast wound up with 10 hits, Jordan Tylski 3 for 5 with two RBIs and Rashard Ranie with a single and triple and two runs.


Gulf Coast also was ranked No. 2 in the state before Tuesday and NWFS No. 8. Panhandle opponent Chipola is No. 1 both in the state and the nation. The Indians opened their conference slate Tuesday in Tallahassee.


On another side note, Gulf Coast also lost consecutive games early last month. That time it responded with 14 straight victories.


Northwest Florida;212 120 000 — 8 12 3

Gulf Coast;000 020 103 — 6 9 1


Orze (W, 3-0), Pooler 9, Barr 9 and Oliver; Cyphert (L, 3-1), Cullen 5, Kilcrease 8 and Nowak.

LOB: NWFS 6, GC 9. E: Cyphert, Salvatore, Guidry, Goforth. S: Crowder, Salvatore, Deas. SF: Koonce. 2B: Deas, Guidry 2, Goforth, Salvatore. 3B: Ranie. HR: Austin. RBIs: Goforth 3, Austin 2, Oliver, Koonce, Nowak, Tylski 2. CS: Oliver, by Nowak. HBP: by Orze (Webb), by Cullen (Crowder). WP: Cyphert, Cullen, Orze, Barr.

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