Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

March 6, 2013

Navarro Baseball: Schiraldi, Young pitch Bulldogs to sweep of Northeast

Bulldogs cruising at 8-0 in conference play

Corsicana — Lukas Schiraldi saw the same thing everyone else did. Some 20 scouts at Wednesday’s doubleheader at Graham Field, there to see two of the top Major League draft pitching prospects in junior college baseball.

Northeast’s Greg Milhorn vs. Navarro’s Schiraldi. It was a must see game for baseball junkies, and the radar guns and notebooks were out to prove it.

Schiraldi ended up having the better day, throwing a five-hitter in Navarro’s 4-2 victory to open the doubleheader.  The right-hander from Austin didn’t allow himself to get too ramped up for the start and it paid off.

“Not too much,” Schiraldi said of being excited with all of the scouts behind the backstop. “I try not to get too excited.”

Schiraldi (5-0) has been lights out this season, winning five consecutive decisions. He allowed two base runners in the first inning, and got out of the inning with one of his six strikeouts.

Northeast did scratch out a run in the top of the fifth with the aid of a Navarro error and passed ball. But Schiraldi’s team picked him up against Milhorn, who had scattered four hits in the first four innings.

Navarro sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs as Milhorn was forced to leave the game with a blister. He retired the first two Bulldog batters, then Drake Roberts ignited an uprising with an infield hit. Catcher John Clay Reeves followed with a double to the left-center field gap to tie the game at 1-1.

Tyler Wilson and Byron Reichstein walked to load the bases, ending the day for Milhorn. Reliever Justin Schnedler came in and plunked the first batter he faced, Campbell Cooper, to give Navarro a 2-1 lead. Bulldogs designated hitter J.P. Phillips followed with a two-run single to break the game open at 4-1.

Schiraldi had a perfect top of the sixth, but allowed a triple and a single to start the seventh inning. The University of Texas signee was able to bare down and finish the game.

Schiraldi, who has changed his arm slot to three-quarters, got an out on a fielder’s choice. After Northeast’s D.J. Roberts’ had a single, Schiraldi was able to induce a fly ball and get a strikeout looking.

Schiraldi’s fastball command has improved greatly since last season, and he’s also been able to throw his changeup and curve ball for strikes.

“It’s helped me throw harder and also to throw strikes,” Schiraldi said.

Navarro also rallied from a one-run deficit in the second game. The Bulldogs used a three-run fifth inning after Northeast’s Tyler Allgood had a no-hitter going through four.

Byron Reichstein started the inning with a single. Cooper followed with a single and Phillips walked to load the bases. Mason Salazar then got hit by a pitch as the Bulldogs scored another key run that way.

Northeast first baseman Cameron O’Brien then had a throwing error trying to get a double play at second base and Cooper and Phillips came around to score for a 3-1 lead.

Bulldogs starter Chad Young went eight innings, getting out of a key jam in the seventh after a stern talk from Navarro coach Whoa Dill.

“I just wanted him to be aggressive with his curve ball,” Dill said. “He has one of the best ones around.”

Young got out of the jam with a strikeout, then got a beautiful double play turned behind by Roberts and Salazar in the top of the eighth.

Closer Blake Griffin pitches a perfect ninth inning for another Navarro win.

The Bulldogs are cruising at 8-0 so far in conference play, and with a sweep Saturday at Paris, will head into spring break with a ton of momentum.

“We are playing good baseball,” Dill said. “We’re getting our pitching back. Lukas is pitching lights out and I have complete confidence in Blake the way he is pitching.”

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