By Jim Henry

jhenry@joplinglobe.com

Colorado’s 18-17 slugfest over the Florida Marlins last Friday night brought back memories for Rockies hitting coach Alan Cockrell.

“It reminded me of my Little League games back in Galena,” Cockrell said Sunday night. “The last team that hit was going to win.”

The Rockies did win the game in their last at-bat, scoring twice to erase a 17-16 deficit. That was nothing compared to the 13-4 deficit the Rockies faced in the fourth inning.

“It was early in the game,” Cockrell said, “and I kept telling the guys to stay with it, have good at-bats. ... We have a lot of outs left, and let’s see what happens.

“The amazing part of what they did is they came back four different times after getting it close. Florida would throw two or three more runs up, but we didn’t quit. We kept grinding at-bat after at-bat after at-bat. When we were down one going into the ninth, I felt we had a good chance of at least tying the game up.”

In the first half of the baseball season, the Rockies have won not only an 18-17 game but also a 2-1, 22-inning decision in San Diego in April.

“It’s amazing ... a 2-1, 22-inning game and an 18-17 game, and I’ve seen both,” Cockrell said. “Being a hitting guy, the 2-1 game was harder. No doubt, I like to see hitting. A 2-1 game is hard.”

Cockrell, former baseball and football standout at Joplin Parkwood High School and the University of Tennessee, undoubtedly will have a lifetime of memories one week from tonight.

The annual All-Star Game will be played July 15 at Yankee Stadium. Since the Rockies represented the National League in the 2007 World Series, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle will be the manager for the NL All-Star team. He’s taking the rest of his coaching staff to New York.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Cockrell said. “Usually you treasure the all-star break because of the time off, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity. It will be a really cool experience, going to Yankee Stadium for the last year and getting a chance to see the greatest players in the game all on one field.”

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