WHARTON, Texas – The Blinn Buccaneers thought a four-run ninth-inning rally would be enough to pick up the victory Friday night. They just didn't expect it to be Wharton County's that did the trick.
The Pioneers defeated Blinn 7-6 in both teams' Region XIV Conference opener, a game that saw both teams strike for four runs in the final inning.
Blinn trailed most of the night, but in the sixth inning Kevin Santana hit an RBI single to cut Wharton County's lead to 3-1. Tyler Coker would cut that lead to a single run in the eighth inning when he scored on a ground ball by Cullen Gassaway, setting the stage for a four-run ninth-inning rally that appeared to put the Buccaneers in control.
A pair of Pioneer errors allowed J.C. Neighbors to tie the score, and Taylor Cobb followed with a two-run triple that made it 5-3. Cobb would score on a sacrifice fly by Gassaway that gave the Buccaneers a three-run cushion.
But it wouldn't last long, as a pair of Blinn errors allowed Wharton to rally. A sacrifice by Liam Beechinor pushed across the game-winning run with two outs in the inning.
Coker finished the game 3-for-5 with three runs scored, while Cobb was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. Santana was 2-for-5.
Karl Malecek pitched the first five innings for Blinn, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five. Michael Vielma took the loss, allowing four runs – two earned – in three innings. He allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out three. Robert Dickey recorded the final two outs for Blinn, striking out one.
Jason Jones earned the win for Wharton County with 2/3 innings of relief.
Wharton and Blinn (6-9, 0-1 in Region XIV) conclude the series with a 3 p.m. double-header Saturday at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham. The 3 p.m. game will be Blinn's first "Turn Back the Clock" game of the season, in which the team will wear replica jerseys modeled after those worn during the 1920s and '30s. Proceeds from the event, which features old-time music and 50-cent hot dogs, will benefit Adam's Angels Ministry.
Adam's Angels Ministry is a non-profit organization founded by Donna and Tim Culliver of Brenham as a way to reach out to families that have been affected by childhood cancer. The Cullivers lost their 4-year-old son, Adam Christian Culliver, to acute myelogenous leukemia.
Blinn began hosting Turn Back the Clock Days in 2009 as a fundraiser for local charities. In previous years, the event has raised money for Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, the Brazos Valley Hospice and Washington County Little League.
All monetary donations and fund-raising proceeds raised from this year's event will allow Adam's Angels to assist families with living expenses, fuel costs, medical parking and meal vouchers. Individuals or companies wishing to donate directly to Adam's Angels Ministry can send checks to: P.O. Box 2573, Brenham, TX 77834-2573, or visitwww.adamsangelsministry.org.