Jost, Johnson lead Bulldawgs’ Baseball past Shoemaker 4-1

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ Baseball team needed a win after dropping their first two games of the season last week against Waco Midway.
Junior Colby Jost and senior Cameron Johnson made sure it happened.
“I felt confident in my team’s ability to get my back out there in the field and I wasn’t afraid the throw the fast ball,” said Johnson. “We dropped those first two, but I think we’re out for revenge, honestly. Hopefully Midway drops two and we and maybe we can play them again for that number one spot.” 
While Johnson was dialing it up on the mound, surrendering just one run on two hits with 13 strikeouts, Jost was getting it done at the plate with a perfect 3 for 3 outing for two RBIs to help get the Dawgs back on the winning track.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Jost said about his performance at the plate. “I’m just looking for good pitches to put good swings on to help my team win. I just want to help score runs for our team because this is supposed to be a good season for us and I’m doing all I can to help.”
Jost admits having their two aces starting every game helps with the confidence.
“It’s very important,” he said. “Whenever they pitch well, it gives us life on offense and makes us want to score runs for them because we know they’re going to give whatever it takes in that game.”
Head coach Dusty Brittain knows there are some things to clean up but he’s happy with the win.
“We had some missed opportunities but, ultimately, we’re here this week to get two wins,” he said. “To be able to get one under our belt, we’ll take it any way we can get it.” 
Johnson was untouchable early, retiring the first 10 batters he faced (five by strikeout) until a pair of walks led to a run in the top of the fourth inning.
The Bulldawgs, however, were all over Shoemaker pitcher Jesus Encarnacion in the early goings but were unable to find the gap with three fly outs to begin their night at the plate.
A double by senior Tyler Ingram to begin the bottom half of the second inning put a runner in scoring position for Jost who singled to right field for the 1-0 Cove lead.
After the throwing and fielding error on a pickoff attempt allowed Shoemaker’s Burt Cruz to score for a 1-all tie in the top of the fourth inning, the Dawgs regained their advantage in the bottom half of the inning.
Johnson drew a walk to lead off the inning before advancing to second on an errant pickoff attempt and scoring on an error by Shoemaker shortstop Kevin Mial off the line drive by Ingram.
The Dawgs had an opportunity for more when Jost singled and Nick Izquierdo was hit by the pitch to load the bases, but the Dawgs were unable to take advantage, leaving all three runners stranded.
Johnson then closed down the opportunities for the Grey Wolves with eight strikeouts and a groundout against the final 11 batters faced. He allowed one runner in the sixth inning on a hit batsman and the second hit of the night in the seventh before three consecutive strikeouts to end the game.
The Bulldawgs added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning.  
A single to center field by senior Josh Ropple and a walk by Johnson put two runners on for Jost who connected on the RBI single to right field to score Ropple and knock Johnson to third.
Izquierdo then earned a free base to again juice the bases before designated hitter Justin Velesky earned an RBI walk for the 4-1 Cove lead. 
“It’s a testament to the kid’s work ethic,” Brittain said of Jost’s performance. “He puts in the work and goes about his business on a daily basis. When you put in the extra time, aside from practice and what not, you’re going to be successful. Hats off to him. He’s been big for us.”
Johnson agreed.
“I’m really proud of Colby,” he said. “He has really come through for us, especially these last two years. He’s been really hot at the plate. In one of the tournament’s, he batted like 600 or something crazy like that. Up at the plate, I know I can count on him.”
Ropple was 2 for 4 with a run and Ingram was 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI to follow Jost’s 3 for 3-night with two RBIs. Johnson drew a pair of walks and scored a pair of runs. Velesky added RBI walk and Goudeau drew a walk.
Johnson earned the win on the mound with one unearned run on two hits while fanning 13 and walking two in seven innings.
“People ask me who my number one is and I tell them, ‘you pick,’” said Brittain. “On a given night it could be either one of them. Cam was dealing tonight. He pitched well. He was out there throwing strikes and he did a good job for us. I’m proud of the kid. It’s good to see him having success.”
Encarnacion and Cruz led the Grey Wolves’ bats, each going 1 for 3 on the night. Cruz scored the only run.
Encarnacion also picked up the loss on the mound. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out three and walking four. Cruz came on in relief where he allowed no runs on just one hit while fanning one in 1 1/3 innings.
The Dawgs (15-2-2, 1-2 in District 8-6A) play game two of the home-away series with Shoemaker tonight at Shoemaker before their two-game series with Ellison next week with Tuesday’s game at Ellison.
“I just want to see them compete more than anything,” said Brittain. “I know we’re talented. We have good guys on the mound and we’ve got some offensive talent. I just want to see them compete in every level. We’re continuing to get better. We’re a work in progress. We’re definitely not where we need to be but it’s a step forward.”

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