BELTON — Blue beat Red 9-4 in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl all-star baseball game Friday.
The win was the first for the Blue team in the baseball series that began in 2016.
Killeen's Jackson Taylor went 1 for 3 with a team-high-tying two RBIs for Blue.
“It was awesome. I was nervous to go up there,” Taylor said of his at-bats.
“As you could tell, I was really out in front, so I was being super aggressive,” he said of his approach in the game. “There was no point in waiting or seeing any.”
Copperas Cove’s Michael Goudeau led off the game for Red against Dalton Hawes from Salado. Hawes started off shaky, plunking Goudeau on the game’s first pitch. Hawes settled down when he struck out Ellison’s Preston Mills two batters later. Red stranded two runners on second and first as Hawes pitched a scoreless top of the first.
Red opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the second. West’s Tyler Kaluza led off with a double. He scored on a triple by Grandview’s Seth Bauerschlag. Brady Blue of Kerens drove in Bauerschlag on an RBI ground out. Blue escaped further damage and kept the deficit at two.
Blue took the lead in the bottom of the third with a four-run outburst. Killeen’s Jackson Taylor started the scoring when he drove in Holland’s Elijah Botts with a one-out single. Josh Coker of Waco Connally provided the go-ahead single that plated two. Two batters later, Fairfield’s Andre Carter delivered an RBI single to extend the Blue lead to 4-2, and they never looked back.
Blue tacked on two more in the fourth. Robinson’s Robert Villa drove in the second run on a sacrifice fly. Red’s Payton Spell, of China Spring, provided the highlight on the play with an incredible diving catch on the run.
After the sacrifice, the Blue lead was 6-2.
Red inched closer in the top of the fifth when Troy’s Caleb Owens scored on a wild pitch.
Taylor drove in his second run of the game in the bottom of the fifth as Blue extended its lead to 7-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Blue scored for the fourth consecutive inning as it tacked on two and extended its lead to 9-3. Corsicana’s Micah Burke Groesbeck’s and Grant Johnson delivered the run-scoring hits.
Red threatened in the seventh. Corsicana’s Landon Pritchett hit Cove’s Colby Jost to lead things off. Jost showed his speed by stealing second and advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher. However, Pritchett stranded Jost at third to preserve the six-run advantage.
Mills helped Red cut the deficit in the top of the eighth. He hit a two-out double into the left field corner. A few pitches later, Riesel’s Chandler Dodge drove him in with an infield single to make the score 9-4. Dodge was stranded at second to limit the damage.
Local players did well in the Victory Bowl.
Hawes pitched two innings, giving up the two hits and two runs. At the plate, Hawes was 1 for 2.
Goudeau went 0 for 2 and was hit by a pitch.
Mills was 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.
Jost went 0 for 1 with a hit-by-pitch and stolen base.
Head coach Donald Trcka, of Killeen, coached the victors.
“It’s been an honor to come out and coach these guys,” Trcka said. “Every day they came out they worked hard. Just great attitudes, great kids.”
Trcka said the preparation for the game was a little bit different than a normal game due to the compact schedule.
The Victory Bowl continues Saturday with the volleyball game at 12:30 p.m. at University High School in Waco and the football game at 6:30 p.m. at Waco ISD Stadium. Admission for volleyball is $5. Admission for football is $10, plus $5 for parking.