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Bandera All-Stars win 10 inning thriller

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

The Bandera Junior League All-Star team traveled to Five Diamonds last Saturday, June 22, to take on the Uvalde All-Stars. Uvalde looked as though they were off to a blowout of the Bulldogs after grabbing a 6-1 lead after the first inning. However, five hours and several rallies later the Bulldogs walked off the field victorious with a 16-15 victory in extra innings.

The game started off rough for Bandera with four errors in the first inning. However, Tristan Watson got the Bulldogs on the board as his speed got him around to home on Jacob Kimbrel's RBI double.

Then Casey Harp and Jack Junker threw Uvalde off their rhythm with effective pitching.

Junker continued to lead the Bulldogs on the mound through the early innings, when an important double play from Woodie in the fourth gave the Bulldogs some momentum. Reese Jennings and Connor Chessir each got hits to start the inning before Woodie made yet another impact play with a two RBI double. Wyatt Blair then drove Woodie in from second base with a hit of his own. Going into the fifth inning Bandera trailed 7-4.

Watson came in to pitch in the fifth, striking out the first batter he faced. Uvalde added one run to their total in the inning, however Chessir made a fantastic throw from center field to get a Uvalde runner out at home plate. Then Carson Wilke promptly sent a line drive down the third base line for a double. Chisom Magee drove in two runs with a double, and Woodie kept the rally going with an RBI of his own. After five innings, the Bulldogs trailed only 8-7.

In the sixth, Watson sent Uvalde back to the dugout with a three up three down inning. The Bulldogs came back to the plate energized, as Kimbrel and Jennings each drove in a run.
Magee added another double before Chessir drilled a ball over the center fielders' head for a two RBI triple that gave the Bulldogs a lead late in the game.

In the seventh, Uvalde scored off of several walks given up by the Bulldogs before striking with what seemed like the final blow. A three-run homerun gave Uvalde a heart breaking two run lead going into the final at-bat for the Bulldogs.

Bandera refused to give up however, and Kimbrel got on base with a hit before stealing his way around to make it a one run game. Wilke followed with a hit, and Watson promptly sent him in with an RBI to tie up the game and send it into extra innings.

The eighth and ninth innings were handled by Aidan Keane on the mound, as he retired six out of the nine batters he faced. In both innings, the Bulldogs had runners in scoring position and a chance to end the game, but came up just short each time.

The tenth and final inning seemed dim for the Bulldogs as Uvalde pulled ahead 15-14. In the bottom of the tenth, Magee started the rally for Bandera with a walk before coming around to score the tying run.
Chessir got on base with a walk of his own, and stole his way into scoring position to set up the Bulldogs with a chance to win. Blair came up to the plate and quickly smashed a ground ball into the outfield to give Bandera a hard fought victory.

"This was the greatest game I've ever had the privilege of coaching," manager Mark LaCour said after the game. "They pulled through with their hearts. This is the best team I've ever been a part of."

With the extra inning win, the Bandera All-Stars moved on to the second round of the double-elimination tournament to take on the host Five Diamonds on Monday, June 24. Coverage of this game and later rounds will continue next week.

Pictured: Photo courtesy Shanna Wilke
The Bandera Junior League All Stars line up for a game.