Dawgs outlast Eagles in 6-5 marathon matchup
By TJ MAXWELL
It took 10 innings and 3-½ hours for the Bulldawgs to escape their home opener against Ellison in a 6-5 nail-biter Tuesday night in Copperas Cove.
It took three pitchers and a plethora of quality at bats by the Bulldawgs to come away unscathed at 3-0 in District 12-6A play.
“That’s way better than playing a team that you’re going to beat 10-1 or 10-0,” said Copperas Cove head baseball coach Bob Macy. “It teaches you how to finish baseball games and that’s what you want. I kept telling them in the sixth and seventh inning that, ‘this is what baseball is about. You want to be in those one-run games.’ We were in one this weekend and we fell short, but we finished this one and it was a great job.”
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the final inning, a single by sophomore Rusty Cochran; along with a walk by freshman Travis Sanders and an intentional walk senior by Josh Ropple; loaded the bases when senior Nick Izquierdo was hit by the pitch of Ellison’s Preston Mills for the first run of the inning for a 4-3 score.
A single by junior Cam Petet then drove home Sanders for the 4-4 tie to send the contest into extra innings.
Cove senior closer Jacob Wagner dueled it out with Mills on the mound for the next two innings until the Eagles again took the lead, 5-4, on a line drive to left field by Alex Oquendo that scored Tye Hill, who reached on a fielder’s choice bunt.
“Honestly, I was a little nervous going up there,” said Wagner. “But we put in a lot of work in the offseason and I knew I was ready to go.”
Once again, the Dawgs’ bats came through.
A single by Wagner in his only at bat of the night put a runner on and senior Justin Velesky made them pay with a double to left field that scored courtesy runner Steele Straley on the throw for a 5-5 tie.
Velesky then advanced to third on a wild pitch before racing home on another wild pitch for the walk-off run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The Eagles had a chance to blow their lead open, leading 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning, but a strong throw by Cochran from right field and a relay by Jost to third baseman Chris Lingo punched out Hill at third after attempting to stretch it to a triple.
“All I was really focused on is getting to the ball as fast as I can,” said Cochran. “I threw it as hard as I can to third base. Colby happened to be right there and made a quick turnover to third.”
Macy knows the significance of plays like that.
“That’s a game winner right there,” he said. “He made a great play getting to the ball and we made a good throw to third and got the guy.”
The Bulldawgs improved to 9-7-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 for sole possession of second place in District 12-6A.
“The weight room in the offseason is why you win ball games like that,” said Macy. “Hopefully, the lightbulb has clicked on and they see that, but they did a great job of finishing that game.”
Cochran led the Dawgs at the plate with a 2 for 4 night with one run and one walk while senior Colby Jost added 2 for 5 hitting.
“I was struggling, but I was working this week on making the ball bigger and my bat bigger,” said Cochran. I got a lot of 0-2 counts and I just focused on trying to make contact.”
Wagner (1 for 1), Sanders (1 for 3, 2R, 2BB), Izqeuirdo (1 for 3, 2RBI, BB), Petet (1 for 4, RBI, BB) and Velesky (1 for 5, R, RBI) rounded out the nine hits for the Dawgs. Goudeau added a run and a walk, Ropple added an RBI and two walks and senior Chris Lingo added a walk.
Brian Gardner (3 for 5, 2R) and Hill (3 for 5, R) led the Ellison batters. Edward Eakin (2 for 5, 2RBI), Oquendo (1 for 4, 2RBI, BB), Julian Vascot (1 for 4, BB), Carlos Felix (1 for 3, R, BB), Julien Jimenez (1 for 4), Joseph Marin (1 for 5, RBI), and Mills (1 for 5, R, BB) rounded out the Eagles’ 14 hits.
Wagner picked up the win on the mound for the Bulldawgs. He allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out one and walking one in three innings of relief. Ropple allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out six and walking four in six innings of work. Jost allowed one earned run on one hit in one inning of relief.
Jimenez suffered the loss on the mound for the Eagles. He allowed two runs on four hits in one inning of relief. Eakin allowed four earned runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings as the starter.
The Dawgs traveled to Waco to take on the Midway Panthers last night (results not available at press time) and return home tonight to the Temple Wildcats set for a 7 p.m. first pitch.