Bulldawgs rally to secure a playoff spot with 3-1 win over Killeen
By TJ MAXWELL
KILLEEN – Better late than never is a frequently used saying but that definitely rang true for the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a tying run in the sixth inning before securing their second-consecutive playoff berth with two runs in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday night at Killeen High School.
Junior pitcher Chris Lingo pitched gem, allowing just one unearned run on one hit in six innings of work.
The Bulldawgs managed eight hits on the night but it was a sacrifice fly by senior Colby Jost that determined the outcome as he provided the go-ahead run scoring sophomore Rusty Cochran. Senior Josh Ropple then provided an insurance run with an RBI double to center field scoring senior Michael Goudeau. Cochran reached on a single to right field and Goudeau reached on a double to left field.
The Bulldawgs threatened early with multiple base runners in each of the first two innings, but they were unable to take advantage.
It would be Killeen to strike the first blow with a run in the bottom of the third inning.
A lead-off walk by Jose Ayala put a runner on for the Kangaroos before Djuan Grant moved him to third on a sacrifice. Ayala then scored on a ground out by Travion Grant to freshman shortstop Travis Sanders for the 1-0 Killeen lead.
The Dawgs were again able to get some runners on the base paths on an error off the bat of Cove junior Cam Petet and a single by senior Justin Velesky, but a baserunning error prevented the tying run.
Neither team could muster much offense over the next couple of innings until the Bulldawgs rallied with two outs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game.
A two-out single to left field by senior Nick Izquierdo started the rally before a walk by Cam Petet and an RBI single to center field by senior Jacob Wagner knocked Izquierdo home for the tying run.
An error allowed a Kangaroo runner to reach in the bottom half of the inning but a fly out for the third out quickly ended the threat.
Cochran was 2 for 3 with a run scored and Goudeau was 2 for 4 with two doubles and a run to lead the Copperas Cove bats. Izquierdo (1 for 3, R), Ropple (1 for 3, R, RBI, 2B, BB), Wagner (1 for 3, RBI) and Velesky (1 for 3), accounted for the rest of Cove’s eight hits. Jost had the game-winning RBI.
Alnaldo Lonzo registered the only hit for the Kangaroos with a 1 for 3 night. Travion Grant had an RBI for the Roos.
Lingo improved to 6-1 on the year with the win on the bump. He finished with one unearned run on one hit while striking out seven and walking three in six innings. Ropple earned the save. He allowed no hits and no runs while striking out one and walking none in one inning of relief.
Lonzo suffered the loss on the mound for the Kangaroos. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking three in seven innings of action.
The win moved the Bulldawgs (10-5) into a tie for third place with Ellison (10-5) after the Eagles suffered a close loss on the road at Midway on Tuesday in a 6-5 contest.
The Bulldawgs can claim the third spot outright with a win over Shoemaker (0-15) tonight on the road and a loss by the Eagles at Belton (13-2).