ROUND ROCK — Daniel Cole knows how hard it is to make the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game.

The Harker Heights standout showed why he is one of the best athletes in the state Saturday afternoon at Dell Diamond, as he competed on the North’s squad with some of the best players in Class 5A and 6A.

Cole pitched a perfect seventh inning on just 11 pitches, and at the plate, he earned a walk in his lone at-bat as the South beat the North 9-1.

“It was absolutely amazing. What an incredible experience for me to compete against the best of the best in the state of Texas,” Cole said. “A lot of these guys I played with before and have known a few of them in the past. Most of these guys are going to play college baseball and a few are going to Division I schools, so I was proud to represent Harker Heights baseball this afternoon in a great way.”

The teams, composed of

20 players throughout the state, competed in an eight-inning affair on the afternoon. The South jumped on the board first in the fourth inning against North pitcher Colin Wyman from Pflugerville Hendrickson. Deer Park’s Chase Keng reached on an error, which plated A&M Consolidated’s Jonathon Sylvester, who was named MVP after the conclusion of the game by going 2 for 2 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Houston Bellaire’s Ronald Brown brought home another run in the frame on a sacrifice fly to give the South a 2-0 lead.

The North team got a run back in the fifth inning when Randall’s Heston Kjerstad and Cole walked to open the inning. Two batters later, Kjerstad scored on Hebron’s Zachary DeLoach’s single to center.

From there, it was all team South. The squad pushed across a four-spot in the sixth to break the game open.

Cole was called upon by North coach Jason Farrow, of Forney High School, to pitch the seventh inning and he delivered in a big way.

With his team trailing 6-1, Cole got three quick outs. Victoria East’s Trent Brown and Brown flied out to center, and San Antonio Reagan’s Ramon Garza flied out to right.

Following the summer, Cole will take his talents to Waco and play for head coach Mitch Thompson and the McLennan Community College Highlanders.

The Highlanders are coming off a season in which they earned a trip to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. Cole is excited for the opportunity to play against one of the best junior college programs in the country.

The District 8-6A MVP was joined by another MCC signee, Round Rock High’s Grant Miller, on the North squad.

“I was talking about it in the dugout after the game with another player and how excited we are to go. The coaches there have done a great job of staying in touch with me and really making us excited about getting there in the fall,” Cole said.

Before the game, all of the participating players were introduced with their fathers and coaches. Cole was honored on the field with his father, Whitney, and Harker Heights head coach Randy Culp.

“I was talking to Grant during the game and we were saying how excited we are about this experience today, because this will prepare us for college ball by playing against a lot of players who are headed to big-time programs,” Cole said.

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