Blue Wahoos Gain Sixth Playoff Trip In Wild Series At Biloxi

The Blue Wahoos celebrate in the visitors dugout June 23 after their 10-6 victory against the Biloxi Shuckers in Biloxi Miss. to clinch the first half Southern League South Division race and gain playoff spot for the league playoffs in September.
The Blue Wahoos celebrate in the visitors dugout June 23 after their 10-6 victory against the Biloxi Shuckers in Biloxi Miss. to clinch the first half Southern League South Division race and gain playoff spot for the league playoffs in September.

The Blue Wahoos needed just one road win last week in Biloxi to clinch the first-half division race in the Southern League South and secure a post-season berth.

They got it on the third try, amid a wild game that typified the entire week’s series in Biloxi. After dropping a pair of close ones last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Blue Wahoos opened a 10-2 lead in the ninth inning of last Thursday’s game, then survived a Shuckers rally for a 10-6 win.

It became the Blue Wahoos first half-season division win since 2017, but their sixth overall playoff berth in the team’s 10-year history. The Blue Wahoos have now earned playoff spots with three different affiliations – the Cincinnati Reds, the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins – in the past four seasons, excluding the cancelled 2020 season.

They gained playoff entry as wild-card teams in 2018 and 2019 – their lone season as a Twins affiliate – after posting the second best overall percentage in seasons with the same division leader in both halves.

The Southern League divisional round playoffs will start on September 20 with Game 1 of a best-of-three series at the second-half winner’s ballpark. As first-half South Division winners, the Blue Wahoos are guaranteed home games for Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary, at Blue Wahoos Stadium on Sept. 22-23.

Following an off-day, the Southern League championship series is set to begin on Sept. 25 at the South Division winner, then games Sept. 26-27 in a best-of-three series at the North Division winner.

For the Blue Wahoos, the past week in Biloxi was played like a playoff series and could feature these teams meeting again in late September.

Four of the games in Biloxi were decided by one run. The Blue Wahoos loss Sunday was the 10th game decided by one run in the teams’ last 12 meetings.

Last week's recap

June 21 – Starter A.J. Ladwig worked six innings, but the Blue Wahoos dropped the series opener 5-3 after Biloxi’s star right fielder Joey Wiemer thwarted three home runs, including two from Jose Devers, on leaping catches that made ESPN’s Plays of the Day. Wiemer is viewed as sure-bet MLB player.

June 22 – Biloxi’s Joey Wiemer hit a 2-run homer off Blue Wahoos star Eury Perez in the first inning, then the Shuckers rallied from a 4-2 deficit to take a 5-4 win. Ray-Patrick Didder’s 2-run homer in the seventh inning gave the Blue Wahoos a 4-2 lead, but the Shuckers rallied with two runs in the bottom of the inning and got a solo homer from Jakson Reetz, another MLB prospect, to take the lead in the eighth.

June 23 – The Blue Wahoos won the first half division race by building their big lead and taking a 10-6 win to celebrate the post-season playoff berth.

The Blue Wahoos are first-half regular season champions after securing the league's best record.
The Blue Wahoos are first-half regular season champions after securing the league's best record.

June 24 – The Shuckers got a bases-loaded walk to complete a comeback and 5-4 win. The Blue Wahoos had built a 4-1 lead early in the game after home runs by Thomas Jones and J.D. Orr – the first pro homer for Orr. Bryan Mitchell had his second straight quality start, allowing three runs in six innings.

June 25 – The Blue Wahoos built an 8-1 lead in the eighth inning, then held off for an 8-7 win. The Blue Wahoos scored four runs in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, then added a 3-run homer from Norel Gonzalez to pad the lead, but the Shuckers answered to get within a run before closer Colton Hock ended the game.

June 26 – Again the Blue Wahoos had a big lead, this time 8-2 in the sixth inning, but again the Shuckers rallied against the Blue Wahoos bullpen, winning 9-8. Jefry Yan was one out away from sealing the win when surrendering a 3-run double. Griffin Conine homered twice to help build the lead.


The Blue Wahoos will begin the second half of their schedule on Tuesday with a six-game series against the Montgomery Biscuits. It is the third time the teams have met this year – second in Pensacola – but they have only played seven games. Five games in Montgomery in mid-May were cancelled due to issues related to the coronavirus affecting the Biscuits team. The Blue Wahoos split the six-game series at Blue Wahoos Stadium in April, then won the only game played in Montgomery.


WAHOOS PROSPECTS RISE – Left-handed reliever Josh Simpson was added to MILB Pipeline’s list of the Miami Marlins Top 30 prospects after his strong first half with the Blue Wahoos. Simpson is 3-1 with a 3.21 earned run average, along with 59 strikeouts in just 33.2 innings pitched. In addition, Blue Wahoos first baseman Troy Johnston, the team’s leading hitter, has climbed to No. 23 on the top 30 list and outfielder Griffin Conine is now No. 24.

FORTES FEAT – Former Blue Wahoos catcher Nick Fortes, who played in 57 games last season for Pensacola, hit a walk-off, solo home run Sunday to lift the Miami Marlins to a 3-2 win against the New York Mets.

Fortes later watched his college alma mater, Ole Miss, capture the College World Series championship. Fortes hit a walk-off home run win last season for the Blue Wahoos and has been with the Miami Marlins since May 27. He made his MLB debut in Miami last September, collecting two hits, including a home run.

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SURGING SKY CARP – The Beloit Sky Carp, a team in Beloit, Wisconsin, co-owned by Quint and Rishy Studer and the Marlins’ High-A affiliate, completed a dramatic turnaround by winning their fifth straight game Sunday in Lansing, Michigan, to attain a .500 record at 34-34.

It was Beloit’s ninth win in 12 games. The team began 0-7 in April and was 11-26 on May 20 before the turnaround began. Several of Beloit’s players are expected to join the Blue Wahoos in the second half of the season as roster moves are made.

FIREWORKS FANATICS – The Blue Wahoos will host not one, not two, but four different fireworks events in a six-day period. There will be post-game fireworks shows at the stadium on Wednesday and Saturday, plus the team’s special holiday show on Sunday night July 3.

On Fourth of July Monday, the Blue Wahoos are hosting a watch party event for Pensacola’s Sertoma Fourth of July Celebration Fireworks Show which takes place downtown across from Old Seville Square and the waterfront area along Bayfront Parkway.

SPECIAL SUNDAY – A reminder that Sunday’s game, the final one of the series, will have a 6:05 p.m. start time, because it is the prelude to the team’s post-game fireworks show. And the only time this season that a Sunday game will start at 6:05 p.m.

FOURTH OF JULY EVENT – On July 4, there will be free admission to the stadium beginning at 6 p.m. The videoboard and stadium speakers will play the Pensacola Symphony Sparks and Stars performance, presented by Peter Mougey and the Levin Papantonio Rafferty Law Firm, which takes place at the Hunter Amphitheater, located beyond the centerfield wall at Community Maritime Park.

There will be games, inflatables, other activities available for children at the stadium. Concession stands will be open. People can sit on blankets on the field or in the chairback seats in the stands.

No strollers, wagons will be permitted on the field and no outside food will be allowed in the stadium. The fireworks show will be the Pensacola Sertoma Fireworks Show from the waterfront at Bayfront Parkway and will be visible from the stadium beginning at 9:00 p.m.

In addition, the Blue Wahoos are offering two upgraded, for-purchase packages on July 4. The right field, Coors Party Deck will offer a $40-per person package that includes hot dogs, hamburgers, coleslaw, baked beans, brownies and free sodas, along with for-purchase alcoholic beverages.

The Hancock-Whitney Club level on the third base side will have a VIP package available for $55, per-person, which includes grilled steak, seafood boil, grilled vegetables, hot dogs and free soft drinks.

A ticket link for both upgraded events is available at

Both upgraded options allow for viewing of the Pensacola Symphony concert and the fireworks that will be shot from a short distance away at the Pensacola Sertoma Fireworks Show off Bayfront Parkway.

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WHO: Montgomery Biscuits vs. Blue Wahoos

WHEN: Tuesday through July 3.

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium.

GAMETIMES: Games on Tuesday through Friday will start at 6:35 p.m., then 6:05 p.m. on July 2-3 with post-game fireworks both nights.


RADIO: ESPN-Pensacola (99.1 FM and 1330 AM and WYCT 98.7 HD4).

TV: YurView (check provider) and (streaming) through with subscription discount using BLUE WAHOOS.


Tuesday: Fat Tuesday with 90 minute buffet on Winn-Dixie Party Deck plus soft drinks for $27 ticket. Wednesday: One Price Wednesday with $18 that includes any of the available seats in stadium, plus hot dog, chips, soda. Plus post-game fireworks.

Thursday: Pensacola Mullet Thursday with the specialty uniforms, plus drink specials on the stadium concourse for those of legal age.

Friday: Giveaway Friday, the first 1,000 fans on Friday will receive decorate, Hawaiian theme Blue Wahoos shirt. All sizes will be men’s XL.

Saturday: Fireworks Saturday with post-game show. Plus team will wear the specialty Navy baseball uniforms for the final time and the auction for those jerseys will be completed.

Sunday: Special start time at 6:05 to allow for the annual Wahoos Fourth of July enhanced fireworks show. Team will wear stars and stripes Fourth of July uniforms and kids will run the bases following the game.


(Final First Half Standings)


Rocket City Trash Pandas ---41-28

Tennessee Smokies ---37-32

Chattanooga Lookouts –- 34-35

Birmingham Barons --- 31-38


Pensacola Blue Wahoos --- 35-29

Biloxi Shuckers --- 34-33

Montgomery Biscuits – 28-34

Mississippi Braves – 29-40

Bill Vilona is a retired Pensacola News Journal sports columnist and now senior writer for Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Wahoos Weekly: Blue Wahoos Get Playoff Clincher On Road