Dawgs fall to Knights, must-win home game with Temple Friday night
By BEN PETET
On Tuesday evening the Harker Heights baseball team beat the Copperas Cove baseball team 7-3 in a key district 12-6a game. With the win the Knights punched their ticket for the state playoffs securing the number three seed from the district.
Jett Milsap started on the mound for the Knights and worked around an error with a double play to have a 1-2-3 first inning. Antono Espinoza started on the mound for the Dawgs and matched Milsap with a 1-2-3 inning of his own to close out the first inning scoreless.
In the top of the second inning Milsap had another 1-2-3 inning to keep theDawgs scoreless. In the home half of the second inning Tyler Halverson had a one out single to right field. Halverson stole second base and moved to third base on a fielders choice. With two outs and Halverson on third base, Mike Saiz hit a RBI single to center field making the score 1-0 for the Knights after two innings.
In the top of the third inning Manuel Chaco led off with a infield hit. Gannon White came in as a courtsey runner for the catcher Chaco and moved to second base on a passed ball. John Garcis Leon drew a one out walk putting runners on first and second base then a Milsap wild pitch allowed the runners to move up a base. With runners at second and third base with two outs Travis Sanders walked to the plate. Harker Heights coach Culp decided to intentionally walk Sanders to load the bases. Milsap got out of the inning by getting Gabe Chapman to bounce back to the pitcher who made the easy throw to first base to retire the side and end the threat. In the home half of the third inning the Knights sent 12 batters to the plate scoring six runs. The big hit of the inning was a Bryce Haws one out triple to the left field corner that plated two Knights. The Knights had five hits, three walks, and a Dawg error in their big inning making the score 7-0 for the Knights after three innings.
Blaine Buter led off the top of the fourth ining with a walk. Dominick Vasquez followed with a single to center field to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Milsap got Caden Harris to hit into a 4-6-3 double play while Butler moved to third base on the play. Milsap struck out Chaco looking to end the inning without allowing the Dawgs to score. With Butler on the mound for the home half of the fourth inning Joseph Marin lead off with a hit by pitch putting him on first base. Butler retired the next three batters to end the fourth inning with the score 7-0 for thr Knights.
In the top of the fifth inning Milsap started with two outs but issued a walk to David Cimmino. Sanders was up next and was hit by pitch putting runners on first and second base for Chapman. After a balk by Milsap moved the runners up a base, Chapman hit a RBI single to right field to get the Dawgs on the scoreboard with a run. After two outs in the home half of the fifth inning, Aiden McCloud hit a double to deep left field. Butler got Easton Culp to fly out to center field to end the inning with the score 7-1 for the Knights.
In the top of the sixth inning, with Milsap still on the mound, Vasquez reached on an error to get things started. Harris followed with a walk to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Chaco followed with a RBI double to the left field corner to plate Vasquez and move Harris to third base with no outs. Espinoza followed with a RBI on a fielders choice to plate Harris for the second run of the inning. Milsap got the next two outs to close out the top of the sixth inning. Butler had a 1-2-3 inning in the home half of the sixth inning to keep the score at 7-3 for the knights.
In the top of the seventh inning Marin came on in relief of Milsap. Sanders led off the inning with a single to right center. Butler followed with a one out walk putting runners on first and second base. Vasquez had a single to shallow left field to load the bases with one out. Marin got Harris to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The loss by Copperas Cove along with Temple beating Killeen 9-4 creates a three way tie for fourth place and the final playoff spot from the district. Temple is playing at Cove in a must win game for both teams to have a chance to go to the playoffs. Killeen is at Belton in a must win game for Killeen. If both Cove and Killeen win on Friday night there will be a play-in game at Salado on Saturday to determine the final playoff spot. If Temple beats Cove Friday the Dawgs will be out of the playoffs.