Wisely gets it done
Updated Apr 15, 2017 at 5:46 PM
By PAT McCANN
News Herald Executive Sports Editor
PANAMA CITY — Going into Saturday’s game against Tallahassee it was all hands on deck for the Gulf Coast baseball team.
There was no other way to put it. The Commodores already trailed the Eagles by a game following Friday’s defeat. Another loss not only would put them two games behind with four to play but in essence make it a three-game hole with the Eagles gaining the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Commodores had to win Saturday at Bill Frazier Field to get back in the hunt for the play-in game for the state tournament that is offered to the third-place team in the Panhandle Conference.
It turned out that the only hand they needed was the right hand of sophomore pitcher Alec Wisely, who went the distance in a 4-
2 Gulf Coast victory that left the teams deadlocked at 9-11 for third place. The Commodores are 31-14, the Eagles 24-22 and the teams split their season series 3-3.
Wisely tossed the first nine-inning complete game of any Commodores pitcher this season. He took a five-hitter and three-run lead into the ninth inning against Tallahassee. With two outs, however, Tucker Rayburn doubled, Deyvid Silva singled and Myron Mebane singled.
That cut the lead to 4-2, put the tying run on base and Wisely admitted to glancing into the dugout to see if coach Mike Kandler was close to coming out to get him.
“Not very,” said Kandler, who prefers to focus on his players’ mental toughness when they succeed in crucial situations. “He’s the ultimate competitor. I knew I’d have a fistfight with him if I came out to take him out of the game.”
Wisely got Aaron Haughton to bounce to shortstop Jordan Tylski to get Gulf Coast back into the conversation for the state tournament.
Wisely said that he paid close attention to the Eagles’ lineup when they strafed five Gulf Coast pitchers for 14 hits and 12 runs on Friday in a 12-7 romp.
“I was the DH so I was watching to see what they hit and what they couldn’t hit and that was pitches away,” Wisely said. “I threw my change-up almost only to lefties.”
Gulf Coast, despite the absence of three regulars in its starting lineup, got to Eagles starter Nick Marchese for four runs during the first two innings. Wisely also was key in that regard as he had a pair of run-scoring singles with leadoff batter Tylski, No. 2 hitter Jackson Webb and Wisely accounting for six of the eight Commodores’ hits, Webb with three.
Marchese settled down thereafter and Wisely admitted he had to refocus about the fifth inning with the Eagles having used three consecutive singles, the last by Rayburn, to cut the lead to 4-1 in the fourth.
“I did, and now we’ve still got to beat Chipola next week and Chipola is playing really good right now,” Wisely said.
But Saturday was Wisely’s day to savor, as well as Gulf Coast’s opportunity to rebound and readjust. Kandler had No. 1 starter Dylan Cyphert up in the bullpen during the top of the ninth just in case.
“That’s what front-line pitching is supposed to do,” Kandler said of Wisely’s performance. “Actually we had three really good outings and won three of four games this week because of that.
Gulf Coast is idle until hosting Chipola on Friday. Tallahassee opens a two-game series at Pensacola on Monday.
Tallahassee;000 100 001 — 2 8 0
Gulf Coast;130 000 00x — 4 8 2
Marchese (L) and Haughton; Wisely (W) and Sibeto.
LOB: Tallahassee 6, Gulf Coast 7. E: Tylski, Wisely. DP: Gulf Coast 4-6-3. 2B: Mebane, Rayburn. SB: Duncan. WP: Marchese 2. PB: Haughton. HBP: by Marchese (Tylski). RBIs: Wisely 2, Webb, Rayburn, Mebane.