Stephenville erased a 4-1 deficit with a five-run fourth and then held on for a much-needed 7-6 home win against Joshua on Friday night.
The District 8-4A victory lifts the Yellow Jackets into a three-way tie for second place in the league, while knocking Joshua out of a tie for first.
Joshua led 4-1 after scoring single runs in each of the first four innings before a single and four straight walks set the stage for the Stephenville comeback in the bottom of the fourth.
Daniel Noland led off the frame with a single before J.T. Autrey and Blake Pair each walked to load the bases. Dominick Jokel and Chris Malone made it four base on balls in a row, and each picked up an RBI to cut the Stephenville deficit to one.
Brad Picha then changed the game with one swing of the bat, connecting for a bases-clearing double that brought three runs in and put the Jackets ahead for good.
Joshua tied the game in the sixth with a pair of runs that were aided by a three-base error in the SHS outfield, but the Jackets jumped right back on top in their half of the inning.
Garrett Autrey and Picha each walked to begin the frame, and after a pass ball and a ground out to the pitcher, Reese Robinson drove in the winning run with a single that scored Autrey from third.
Picha made just his second start on the bump after returning from injury and surrendered four runs - three of them earned - in four innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and hit one while setting four Joshua batters down on strikes.
“We had a rough idea how far we wanted to let him go,” said SHS head coach Steve Carroll concerning Picha. “As it continued to get colder, we decided to pull him out a little early.”
Picha picked up the win thanks to the Jackets’ fourth inning rally.
Nick Young took over in the fifth and earned a save by going the final three innings. He surrendered three hits and three walks while hitting a batter and striking out one.
“Overall on the pitching end I thought we were solid,” said Carroll. “Nobody was going to be spectacular in that cold weather.”
Stephenville and Joshua are now tied for second with Seguin. All have 3-2 league marks and trail 4-1 Crowley by a game. The Jackets improved to 11-6 overall.
There are three other schools one more game back as Granbury, Everman and Seguin are all 2-3 in 8-4A.
“We’re just trying to play good ball and take it one game at a time,” says Carroll. “Our district is so wild, anything can happen.”