5-RBI night by Perez lifts Lady Dawgs to 7-1 win over Ellison
By TJ MAXWELL
The Lady Dawgs continue to roll towards their best season in program history.
After clinching a playoff spot with a 15-0 trouncing of the Killeen Kangaroos in just the third game of the second round of District 12-6A play last Friday, the Lady Dawgs didn’t fall victim to the letdown game and outlasted the Ellison Eagles 7-1 Tuesday night at Lady Dawg Field to improve to 24-4 on the season and 10-1 in district action.
Strong pitching from senior Brooke Schmidt and defense from the Lady Dawgs along with a stellar night at the plate by freshman Larissa Perez led Cove to their 10th win in 11 district attempts.
“We got the win and we played solid defense,” said Copperas Cove head softball coach Bryan Waller. “That was one key thing I liked about tonight. Brooke pitched good in the circle again and we got the timely hits when we needed them.”
Perez accounted for all but two of the Lady Dawgs’ runs, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“She’s a lockdown at third base,” Waller said of Perez. “We’ve been telling her to trust the process at the plate. She started seeing the ball better then she came through in her last at bats.”
Perez is starting to find her groove as she combined for five hits and nine RBIs in the last two games.
“I’m not really (feeling it at the plate), but I’m getting there,” said Perez.
She was just glad her team didn’t take a step back after clinching a playoff berth on Friday.
“It’s big,” she said of the win. “I’m really excited we did that.”
Schmidt held the Lady Eagles to just one earned run on five hits while striking out seven and walking just one in seven innings to secure the win in the circle.
“Her determination and passion in the circle are what makes her so good,” Waller said of Schmidt. “Her desire and work ethic allows her to go out there and give it her best every night.”
The Lady Dawgs got on the board early as a leadoff single by freshman Megan Hunt and an error allowed JoJo Hair to reach on a bunt before Perez collected her first two RBIs with a single to centerfield for the 2-0 lead.
Perez then added a run for a 3-0 lead when sophomore Lynsey Robison connected on a one-out single to right field and advanced to second on the throw.
After Schmidt and the Cove defense sat down the Lady Eagles in order in the top of the second, the Lady Dawgs added another run in the bottom of the inning when a triple by Hunt was followed by an RBI single to second base by Hair.
The Lady Eagles broke the shutout in the top of the fourth inning when a leadoff double by Ellison freshman pitcher Lole Reyes and a single by Liz Eakin put two runners on before Alex Morales laid down an RBI bunt to score Reyes.
A fielder’s choice and a walk the loaded the bases for the Lady Eagles before an infield fly and a strikeout ended the Ellison threat.
Cove offered up their own threat in the bottom half of the fourth as three-consecutive one-out walks by sophomore Anissa Amaro, senior Alina Salazar and Perry loaded the bases, but a pop out and a ground out ended the Cove threat.
Perez then connected on a two-run homer to left field that scored Schmidt after she singled to right field to lead off the inning. Cove threatened to add more runs after walks by Alejandra Espinoza Salazar and Perry again loaded the bases, but a fly out ended the fifth inning.
Schmidt again sat down the Lady Eagles in order in the top of the sixth before Cove added their final run in the bottom half of the inning. The third hit of the night by Perez scored Hair from third base after she singled to lead off the inning and advancing to third on the sacrifice bunt by Schmidt.
Schmidt and the Cove defense then closed out the contest with a strikeout and two groundouts after a single by pinch hitter Cinnamon Wediver to open the seventh inning.
Perez was 3 for 4 with two runs and five RBIs to lead the Lady Dawgs. Hunt (2 for 4, 2R), Hair (2 for 4, 2R, RBI), Schmidt (1 for 3, R) and Robison (1 for 4, RBI) accounted for the rest of Cove’s nine hits. Salazar and Perry added two walks each while Espinoza and Amaro added one walk each.
Eakin was 2 for 3 while Reyes was 1 for 3 with a run, Kik Rogers was 1 for 4 and Wediver was 1 for 1 to account for Ellison’s five hits.
Reyes suffered the loss in the circle. She allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits while striking out eight and walking six in six innings of work.
The Lady Dawgs (10-1) look to avenge their only district loss tonight when they travel to Bryan to take on the undefeated (11-0) Lady Vikings.
“We’ve got to play solid defense, put the ball in play, make them make some errors, and get some timely hits,” said Waller.