BELTON — Russel Cochran was given one final opportunity to take the mound, and he capitalized.
A number of graduating baseball players from across the area completed their high school careers Friday evening as Mary Hardin-Baylor hosted the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl all-star game, and neither team could create any separation.
Going into the seventh inning, the Blue team pulled within two runs at 12-10 after scoring a combined five runs in the previous two innings, including a four-run outburst in the fifth inning.
The Blue team would not get any closer, though.
Cochran moved from catcher to pitcher to begin the seventh inning, and after walking the first batter he faced, the Copperas Cove standout collected three consecutive strikeouts to secure the victory for the Red team.
He was not the only local player, however, to produce in the contest.
Also playing for the Red team, Temple’s Zay Fach finished with a pair of hits, runs and RBIs, while Harker Heights pitcher Austin Mitchell had four strikeouts, two hits and two RBIs, and Belton’s Scotty Gurnett recorded two RBIs, a hit and a run in the win.
The Blue team was the first to get on the scoreboard as Salado’s Dillon McDaniel hit a two-RBI double before scoring on a wild pitch to make the score 3-0 in the top of the second inning. Fach helped the Red team respond in the ensuing inning, hitting a two-run home run to left field to score Temple teammate
Aaron Wagaman, who reached base on a walk.
A two-run fourth inning extended the Blue team’s advantage to 5-2, but the Red team would take control in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a four-run showing, including a two-RBI single from Gurnett.
The Red team would not trail again.
Highlighted by Mitchell’s two-RBI shot, the Red team tallied three more runs in the fourth inning, and despite a four-run explosion by the Blue team in the fifth inning to tie the score 9-9, it could not take control.
The Red team scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and answered the Blue team’s one-run sixth inning with a run of its own as Belton’s Ben Jones sent Tigers teammate Gurnett across home plate with a RBI double, setting the stage for Cochran to close the game.