Dawgs upended by Knights 6-0

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That famous Charles Dickens quote from a Tale of Two Cities best describes the past week for the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ baseball team. Coming off a walk-off home win over the Midway Panthers on Friday, the Bulldawgs looked to pounce on that momentum at home against Harker Heights on April Fool’s Day. Harker Heights sophomore hurler Daniel Cole made sure the joke wasn’t on him. He held the Cove bats at bay, allowing just three hits while striking out 11 on the way to a complete game shutout of the Bulldawgs. “Hats off to Daniel Cole,” Cove head baseball coach Dusty Brittain said after the loss. “That’s probably one of the best we’ve seen this year. He was on.” Of the 81 pitches thrown by Cole, 60 were for strikes. To compound the uphill battle offensively for Cove, free bases and a timely error defensively allowed the Knights to take advantage early. The Dawgs’ pitching staff gave up at least one walk in each inning. “Defensively, when you walk that many people, you just have to expect they’re going to come through with run production,” said Brittain. “Walks lead to runs – no matter what age you’re playing at – and we’ve got to get that fixed with everybody.” Lead-off batter Kyle Skelton and Michael Zapata drew walks to begin the contest. A RBI single by Tyler Torres and an RBI groundout by Shaukind Santos plated both runners. A single by Tyler Lamborn and a walk of Landon Persick put two more runners on for the Knights to begin the second inning after Cole sat down the Bulldawgs in order in each of the first two innings. An arrant throw on a fielder’s choice by Cove senior pitcher Conner Lake allowed both runners to score for the 4-0 Knights’ lead. Cove junior Terrance Chamberlin singled with no outs in the bottom of the second but was left stranded on a double-play ball to second base by Tyler Ingram. After surrendering another walk to begin the third inning, senior pitcher Conner Lake settled in for Cove and retired the next three batters with fly outs to end the threat. Cove again put runners on the base paths in the bottom of the third when Neeko Kirk connected on a two-out single to left field, but a groundout by Tim Bechtold ended the side with Heights holding on to their 4-0 lead. Lamborn and Persick again reached base for the Knights to begin the fourth inning. Lamborn connected on a single to centerfield and Persick reached on a throwing error. After advancing to third on the error, Lamborn was knocked home on the Skelton ground out for a 5-0 lead. A Michael Hays single to left field with one out in the bottom of the fourth again put a runner on but back-to-back groundouts shut down the Bulldawgs’ threat once again. Hit batsman allowed Cove runners on in the fifth and sixth innings but five strikeouts by Cole ended the threat in both cases. The Knights added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Cole, whole reached on a walk to start the inning, scored on another Cove throwing error for the final 6-0 score. Cole finished with another 1-2-3 sit down of Cove. “We just didn’t put the ball in play and it’s hard to score when you don’t put the ball in play,” said Brittain. “I don’t know how many strikeouts he had, but it was way too many for our department.” Kirk (1-for-2), Hays (1-for-3) and Chamberlin (1-for-3) logged the only hits for Cove. Lamborn (3-for-4, 2R) and Persick (1-for-1, RBI, 2BB) led the Knights bats. Torres (1-for-4) and Jacob Mitchell (1-for-4) also connected for the Knights. Cole, who surrendered no runs or walks and just three hits in the complete- game shutout for Heights, picked up the win. Cole did have three hit batsman for three free bases. Lake picked up the loss on the mound for Cove. He surrendered five runs (two earned) while walking five and striking out two in four innings on the bump. Adrian Oviedo had a solid relief appearance, surrendering one run (zero earned) while walking three and fanning two in three innings. The Bulldawgs couldn’t dwell on the loss for long, however. By the time this article makes it to print, the Bulldawgs will have faced Shoemaker in Killeen. “Luckily for us, we have a short memory because we have a big one tomorrow,” Brittain said about their Thursday matchup with Shoemaker. “We just have to go one game at a time. I know that’s a little cliché but you do have to go one game at a time. Right now, the biggest key is going out and competing against Shoemaker. If we go take care of business like we’re capable of, we’ll finish that first round with a 3-3 record and we’re sitting in pretty good shape. We just have to have a short memory and get ready to compete tomorrow and get a win.” Lady Dawgs survive late Killeen rally After pounding the Killeen Lady Roos 17-2 in their first outing, the Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs had to hold off a late Lady Roo’ rally on Wednesday to secure the 4-3 win and improve to 5-2 in District 12-6A action. An RBI single by Autumn Hughes in the first inning and another RBI single by Carlee Duran give Cove a 2-0 lead after two innings. Veronica Marshall added a RBI single to left in the fifth to push the Lady Dawgs’ lead to 3-0. A huge bottom of the sixth inning by the Lady Roos made it a one run game heading into the final stanza. A RBI double by Killeen’s Amanda McDaniel began the scoring when she knocked home Tanjela Smth, who tripled to reach. Daniels and Asia Hill then scored on an infield grounder by Matea Smith. Duran picked up the win from the mound for Cove. She surrendered three earned runs on six hits while walkingthree and fanning six. Duran (2-for-4, R, RBI) also led the Lady Dawgs from the plate. Hughes and Marshall were also 2-for-4 from the plate for Cove. Daniels (2-for-3, RBI) led the Lady Roos. Results from the Bulldawgs’ Thursday matchup with Shoemaker and the Lady Dawgs Thursday matchup at home against Belton to come in Tuesday’s Copperas Cove Leader-Press.

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