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Late surge puts McCollum over Highlands

March 12, 2019

The lower half of McCollum’s batting order helped the Cowboys turn a close game into one that almost ended by the run rule.

McCollum (9-3-1, 2-1 in 26-5A) held a slim 4-3 lead on Highlands (5-5, 1-0 in 28-5A) through four innings Friday at at Diz Reeves Diamond. The Cowboys took control with three runs in the fifth and a six-run outburst in the sixth for a 13-5 non-district win.

The last four batters in McCollum’s lineup were a combined 11-for-16 with six RBIs.

“The bottom of the order definitely stepped it up,” McCollum coach Geoff Curtin said. “It was nice to see that. It was really good for Randy Santos. He’d been going through some things.”

Rudy Yanez (4-for-4) and Santos (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) were McCollum’s offensive leaders. They sparked scoring rallies in the second and fourth innings, and finished a three-run outburst in the fifth. Santos produced a two-run single.

McCollum’s first three runs resulted from sacrifice flies by Alec LaFuente, Brandon Blackburn and Ruben Pacheco.

Highlands tied it 3-3 with two outs in the second on an RBI double from Devin Salame RBI double and a run-scoring single from Mason Rios. The Cowboys took the lead on an errant throw in the fourth following an Owls double play.

“We’ve been up and down,” first-year Highlands coach Adrian Juarez said. “We haven’t been able to piece a whole game together.”

Blackburn (2-for-3) and Geonie Vasquez (2-for-3) each contributed two-run singles to McCollum’s sixth inning.

Both teams were scheduled to play three games over spring break.

McCollum faced a potentially brutal schedule with games against Boerne Champion (14-5, 2-0) Wednesday March 13 and rival Harlandale (8-4, 2-1) two days later.

“We’re excited for the challenge,” Curtin said. “We can just focus on baseball and not worry about classes.”

Juarez said he’d like to see the Owls win all of them to reward their hard work in practice.

“The biggest thing is getting the kids to believe in themselves,” said Juarez, a Highlands grad and Owls assistant in 2018. “We’re hitting the ball well, but the errors are killing us.”

Central Catholic 15, East Central 6

The Buttons (9-9) prevailed in a battle of two of the area’s best teams Friday in the San Antonio Classic Tournament. Central Catholic won two games and the Hornets (11-5-1) won one in the three-day tournament.

Luke Markey (2-for-4) hit two home runs and drove in seven runs for Central Catholic, including a second-inning grand slam. Connor Emmons also hit a home run.

Greg Ostertag (2-for-3, RBI) and Matt Gauna (2-for-3, 7 RBI) also had a pair of hits apiece for the Buttons. Tyler Vivier (2-for-3) was East Central’s offensive leader. Five Hornets drove in runs.

Brackenridge 4, Burbank 3

The Eagles (4-10, 1-0) edged their rival, Burbank (6-8, 0-1), on March 5 in the District 27-5A opener for both teams.

Neither team scored until the sixth, when an error and wild pitch gave Brack a 2-0 led. James Vallejo’s two-run triple helped the Bulldogs take a 3-2 lead. The Eagles’ Lance Alex (1-for-2) was struck by a pitch with bases loaded in the seventh and Ricardo Lopez lifted a sacrifice fly that brought in the winning run.

Brackenridge ace Daniel Rodriguez scattered six hits while striking out six.