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Cuero, East head to championship

By MIKE FORMAN
March 7, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 6, 2014 at 9:07 p.m.

Victoria West pitcher Koby Bynum, left, throws a pitch on the way to a 11-2 win over St. Joseph at Riverside Stadium on Thursday.

45th ANNUAL VISD Tournament

10 a.m., seventh place, Bay City vs. Rockport-Fulton, Lowe Field

10 a.m., third place, Victoria West vs. Converse Judson, Riverside Stadium

1 p.m., fifth place, Pleasanton vs. St. Joseph, Lowe Field

1 p.m., championship, Victoria East vs. Cuero, Riverside Stadium

D'Mond LaFond is a freshman, but it was hard to tell.

LaFond recorded three straight strikeouts with runners on second and third base in the bottom of the seventh inning to help Cuero preserve an 8-6 win over Victoria West in the 45th annual VISD Baseball Tournament on Friday at Riverside Stadium.

"I just concentrate on hitting the mitt and throwing strikes," LaFond said. "That's all I've got to do."

The Gobblers will face Victoria East in Saturday's championship game at 1 p.m.

Cuero had taken the lead on a two-out, two-run single by Brandon Munoz in the top of the seventh. Munoz had struck out in his three previous at-bats.

"Whenever we're down, we just all talk to each other, and we never put anybody down," LaFond said. "We're all ecstatic about the game. Baseball is fun."

LaFond also had two hits and a RBI for Cuero (9-6). Austin Johnson also had two hits and a RBI and stole three bases, including home.

Jack Riggs led the Warriors (6-6) with three hits, including two doubles and three RBIs. Coy McLarty added two hits and two RBIs.

Riggs and McLarty each had RBI hits to help West score four unearned runs in the third inning and take a 6-3 lead.

But the Gobblers tied the game in the sixth and took the lead with a pair of unearned runs in the seventh.

Riggs and Tyler Willemin led off the bottom of the seventh with walks, and LaFond came on in relief of Corbin Goebel.

LaFond was making his third pitching appearance of the season and first in relief. He threw errantly to second on a pickoff attempt, and the runners advanced a base.

But he made the error inconsequential with the strikeouts, two of which were called third strikes.

"I've played in big situations, and this was just a tournament," LaFond said. "We're getting ready for district."

East advances to championship game with win over Converse Judson

Victoria East starting pitcher Kyle Craft knew very little about Converse Judson's hitters, so he did what he always does when he takes the mound.

"I was just trying to get the ball and throw strikes and let my defense work," Craft said. "I hit my spots and made sure I didn't give them anything easy to hit."

Craft pitched a four-hitter to lead the Titans (11-4) to a 7-1 win over the Rockets (6-7-2) on Friday night at Riverside Stadium.

East moved into Saturday's championship game against Cuero, which has been moved up to 1 p.m. because of the threat of rain.

Craft had 13 strikeouts and walked only one. He also made an outstanding defensive play to catch a runner at the plate on a squeeze attempt in the first inning.

"He was dialed in," said East coach Wes Kolle. "Any chance they had of putting together a rally, he squashed it, and that's what we need."

The Titans had eight hits, and four came in the sixth inning, when they scored five runs to put the game out of reach.

"We had them in position, which is what we want, but someone has to come up with a clutch hit," Kolle said. "We've got to execute a squeeze or something, especially early on in the ballgame. But I'm proud of the way we answered in the sixth inning and got some insurance."

Cuero 11, St. Joseph 3

Austin Johnson and LaFond each had two hits and two RBIs to lead Cuero early Friday.

St. Joseph took a 3-0 lead, but the Gobblers scored six runs in the fourth and four in the sixth.

Michael Brawner had a double for the Flyers.

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