BELTON — It looked as if Jacob Mitchell and Garet Douglas had been playing baseball together for many years.
Both were highly influential in a 14-4 victory in eight innings for the Red team over the Blue team in the second annual Heart of Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl on Friday at Red Murff Field at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Mitchell, of Harker Heights, plated a run on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the first to put Red up 4-0, and he pitched a flawless inning in the bottom of the eighth while striking out two to end the game with Ellison’s Douglas catching.
“It was awesome,” Mitchell said. “I got to pitch to Garet Douglas, our crosstown rival. Me and him actually got to room together, so we built a little bit of a bond this week and it was awesome to get to go throw to him.
“He caught me great back there. He called the pitches and I hit my spots, so it worked.”
Mitchell and Douglas formulated a game plan in the bullpen prior to the inning.
“I’ve never caught him before, but it seemed like we were on the same page,” Douglas said. “We talked in the pen over there, and we just said, ‘We’re going to do this to this batter, this to this batter and this to this batter.’ It worked perfectly.”
Douglas was also 2 for 3 at the plate with a triple and two runs scored, and while he expected to be nervous, the butterflies weren’t actually there when he took the field.
“I just got out there and just had fun,” Douglas said. “I said, ‘Stats don’t matter tonight.’ So, I just went out there and played baseball.”
After falling down 4-0 in the top of the first, Blue clawed back to within 4-3 after three innings of play.
Waco University’s Jordan Perez scored on a single to right field by Academy’s Max Lopez in the home half of the first, Robinson’s Rhett Roznos scored on a passed ball in the second and Perez hit an RBI single to right to score Bosqueville’s Cason Bradberry in the third.
But that was as close at Blue would get. Red scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, and they tacked on three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth to seal the win.
Both teams had some hiccups in the field, as Blue committed nine errors and Red had three defensive miscues.
Douglas pitched an inning in the sixth and surrendered a walk, but he stranded the runner while striking out the side.
Mitchell thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience of the FCA Victory Bowl, which began Wednesday and included community service projects, bonding experiences and fellowship.
“I got to meet some great new people,” Mitchell said. “All my teammates were a blast to be around, and I just got to go have fun. Hit a home run or strikeout, it was just the experience that mattered.
“It wasn’t what you did in the game, it was just the overall experience of this week and this day that made it all worth it.”
Gatesville’s Peyton Bates competed Friday for the Red team, and he was happy to play one more baseball game and forge new relationships.
“It was nice getting to meet new people from different places,” Bates said. “I already had connections to some of them through select baseball, and it was just a cool experience to tie baseball in with Christ and learn to play through Him. That was really cool.”
Salado’s Cullen McKinney also played in the game for the Blue team.
Ellison head baseball coach Ty Oppermann was one of the Red coaches, and he enjoyed seeing Mitchell and Douglas get to play together.
“Both of those young men had great nights tonight,” Oppermann said. “They had fun during the week, and the game was just unbelievably fun for me as a coach. It was fun getting to watch my guy (Douglas) play one more time and enjoy himself and relax.
“It’s hard to catch a guy you’ve never caught before, but they looked comfortable out there. It was cool to see the two Killeen kids out there finish the ballgame like that. Better than they are ball players, they are quality young men.
“That’s an example of their families, and they are two of the best young men I’ve been around. But I met some great young men from these other teams that were a blast just to talk to and visit with and coach during the game. It was just a great environment.”
VICTORY BOWL SCHEDULE
- TODAY: Fourth annual FCA Victory Bowl volleyball game, 12:30 p.m. at Waco University High School.
- TODAY: Ninth annual FCA Victory Bowl football game, 6:30 p.m. at Waco ISD Stadium.
- TICKETS: $5 for volleyball, $10 for football and will be sold on game day.