By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Blayten Magana was just a pitch or two better than Stefan Flores.
But, that was all that was needed as Magana pitched a one-hitter and led Belton to a 1-0 win over Harker Heights in a pitcher's duel Thursday in Belton.
"I want to be number one," said Belton pitcher Blayten Magana. "(Flores) pitched well, but like I always say 'let the best man win'."
Flores and Magana combined for 13 innings pitched but only one earned run and four hits between them. Flores pitched six innings, struck out two and gave up three hits and three walks in the loss.
"I thought (Flores) matched him pitch-for-pitch," Heights coach Glenn Cunningham said. "They happened to get one in."
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Austin Bishoff hit a lead-off double for Belton (7-7, 1-1 12-5A) and was immediately sacrificed to second by Ryan King on a perfectly laid bunt.
"We didn't care who was coming to bat, even our fifth hitter," said Belton coach Eddie Cornblum. "We were going to sac-bunt the first runner we got to first."
With two down, Flores allowed his only mistake of the night. He threw a wild pitch that moved Bishoff to third and then Chase Cryer ripped a single to center, scoring Bishoff.
The run was all Magana needed.
"We didn't give him a lot of help," Cornblum said. "But we knew by the way he was throwing that one (run) was enough."
Magana struck out nine and didn't allow a base runner through the first four innings and didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth.
"He controlled the zone, threw a lot of strikes and followed the scouting report exactly." Cornblum said.
In the fifth, Magana got into some trouble. After Hunter Mayo reached on an error by Bishoff at first and gave Harker Heights (7-4, 1-1 12-5A) a chance.
Damien May bunted Mayo to second on the sacrifice and third baseman Cody Plagens knocked a liner to center that seemed like it would push the tying run across. However, center fielder Jared Janczak sprinted to the ball, scooped it up and threw a laser to home that beat Mayo by about five feet.
"That pumped me up and I knew he was going to make the play because he is a great player," Magana said. "I knew as soon as the kid hit it that Jared was coming home and was going to get him."
Magana caught Caleb Dean looking on a third strike that ended the only threat the Knights had in the complete-game shutout.
"(Janczak) made a great throw that was the difference in the game." Cunningham said. "This was about as well played a high school game as I've seen. Both teams, both pitchers deserved to win tonight."