Lady Dawgs’ softball off to historic start
By TJ MAXWELL
KILLEEN – The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs softball team has outscored their opponents 42-7 on their way to their best district start in program history. The Lady Dawgs moved to 4-0 with a 10- 5 road win over the Ellison Lady Eagles Tuesday night at Ellison High School.
“This is the best start in this program’s history,” said Copperas Cove head softball coach Bryan Waller after the win. “They set a goal and, right now, we’re achieving that goal. They are determined and they’re playing their tails off.”
After the Lady Dawgs built a solid 9-0 lead through five innings of play behind strong pitching by senior Brooke Schmidt and strong defensive play, they found themselves fighting off a late rally by the Lady Eagles to secure the 10-5 win and 4-0 start to district play.
“They defense played amazing today,” said Waller. “They played exceptional and helped out Brooke by putting the bat on the ball.”
The Lady Dawgs took an early 1-0 in the top of the first inning when a two-out triple by Larissa Perez drove home Meagan Hunt who singled with one out to reach.
Schmidt made quick work of the Lady Eagles with six outs in seven batters faced over the first two innings before the Lady Dawgs added to their lead in the top of the third.
A two-out single by Hunt and an Ellison error on a pop up by Schmidt allowed two runners on. A steal by Hunt and a throwing error by Ellison allowed Hunt to score before a double on a line drive to left center by Perez drove home Schmidt for a 3-0 lead.
Another three up, three down inning by Ellison closed out the third inning.
The Lady Dawgs threatened in the top of the fourth with a lead-off walk by Alina Salazar and singles by Anissa Amaro and JoJo Hair, but a pop-up in the infield with the bases loaded invoked the infield fly rule for out two and a ground out ended the threat and stranded three.
A hit batter allowed one Ellison runner to get on the base paths in the bottom of the fourth, but a diving catch in shallow left center by junior Emma Wasiak saved a possible run and closed out the inning.
The Lady Dawgs responded with a six-run inning to open up the 9-0 lead.
A single by Perez and walk by Lynsey Robison put two runners on before a two-out RBI single by Amaro scored Perez for the 4-0 score.
A single by Channing Perry then loaded the bases before walks by Hair and Hunt and a single by Wasiak pushed the lead to 7-0.
A line drive single by Schmidt then scored Hair and Wasiak for the 9-0 score.
The Lady Eagles managed their first threat of the game in the bottom half of the inning with Alesa Morales reaching on an error, along with walks by Wediver and Maduza. However, a pair of fielder’s choices put Morales out at home and Morgan out at third to keep it a 9-0 ball game through five innings.
Despite another single by Amaro, the Lady Dawgs could not add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth and Ellison broke the shutout in the bottom half of the inning.
Reyes and Elizabeth Eakin singled to lead off the inning, but Reyes was put out at third in a collision that halted play momentarily. Morales then reached on an error and Eakin scored on the same error for a 9-1 score. A single by Maduza put another runner on before a single to right field by Alondra Chelby scored Morales, but a strong throw by Robison from right field on the Chelby single put out Maduza at third and closed the inning.
The Lady Dawgs added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when a double by Hair and walks by Wasiak and Hunt loaded the bases for the Lady Dawgs with no outs. Hair then scored on a wild pitch and Schmidt lined into a double play at short stop for a 10-2 score with two outs. An infield pop-up ended the top half of the inning.
A pair of singles by Morgan and Gerbert put two runners on fore Eakin who connected on a three-run home run to center field with two outs to cut Cove’s lead to five, 10-5, but a fly out to shortstop closed the game and put Cove atop the leaderboard with Bryan at 5-0 after their double-header wins over Killeen on Tuesday.
The Lady Dawgs outhit the Lady Eagles 13 to 7 in the win.
Perez was a home run away from the cycle as she went 3 for 5 with a run, two RBIs, a triple, a double and a single while Amaro went 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI, Hunt was 2 for 3 with two runs, and RBI and two walks and Hair was 2 for 3 with two runs, an RBI, a double, and a walk to lead the Lady Dawgs. Also contributing offensively were Wasiak (1 for 4, run, RBI, BB), Schmidt (1 for 5, R, 2RBI), Perry (1 for 3, R) and Robison (0 for 2, R, 2BB).
Schmidt was on pace for another shutout before things got out of control in the sixth and seventh innings. She surrendered five runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out three and walking two in seven innings.
“She’s determined, she’s dedicated, and she works her tail off,” Waller said of his senior pitcher. “She wants the ball every game and that’s a mindset we love having in a pitcher. She’s committed to be the best she can be this year because this is her last season. Her and Lili (Alina Salazar), our other senior, are leaving a great legacy for the rest of the ones that are coming up and everyone else that is returning.”
Eakin led the Lady Eagles’ seven hits. She was 2 for 3 with two runs, three RBIs and a home run followed by Maduza (1 for 1), Morgan (1 for 2, R), Chelby (1 for 2), Gerbert (1 for 4, R) and Reyes (1 for 4).
Reyes surrendered eight runs (six earned) on nine hits while striking out seven and walking four in 4 2/3 innings. Rogers allowed two earned runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
The Lady Dawgs have played 10 games in 10 days and Waller is glad for his girls to have some time off before facing off with Bryan on Tuesday to determine the 12-6A leader.
“We’re exhausted today,” he said. “This is their ninth game in seven days, so they’re tired. They battled through some adversity today, they pulled together, and they got the win.”
The Lady Dawgs return home to host Bryan on Tuesday and Waller hopes the team keeps rolling.
“They just need to get some rest and they need to keep putting their tools to the trade,” he said.