Lady Dawgs’ Softball splits games in Monday-Tuesday contests

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

A late home run by Copperas Cove junior Jayda Carter wasn’t enough to overcome an early deficit in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Harker Heights Knights in the second game of a Monday-Tuesday District 8-6A double-dip. 
“We didn’t adjust to the conditions,” said Copperas Cove head coach Bryan Waller. “We let the conditions control us. 
“We weren’t as energetic as we needed to be today, and Harker Heights played better than we did. They wanted it more than we did. We have to want it more than the other team or anyone in the stands.”
A strong night at the plate by Lady Knights’ third baseman Ja’lynn Swiney helped Heights build a 4-1 lead through five innings of action, including a solo home run as part of a two-run fifth inning.
Swiney scored the first Lady Knights’ run when she scored on a bases-loaded walk after singling to center field to start off the second inning.
A single by Jenny Saylor put two runners on for the Knights in the bottom half of the inning and a successful bunt by Madelyn Garrison loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Valeria Cosme who drew the RBI walk for a 1-0 Lady Knights’ lead. 
The Lady Dawgs had opportunities in the first and second innings with the leadoff batters reaching base, included putting two runners on in the top of the second but all were left stranded. 
Center fielder Kristen Wasiak singled to lead off the first inning and Maddie Scribner drew a walk to lead off the second inning but was thrown out at second base on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Misi-Kuputo Ismael.
The Lady Knights added another run in the bottom of the third when Marissa Stillwell connected on a leadoff single before stealing second and third to set up Swiney for the RBI single.
The Lady Dawgs broke the shutout in the top of the fourth inning when Maria Hanna singled to left field to lead off the inning. A ground out by Scribner moved Hanna to second before an error on the connection by Ismael allowed Hanna to score for a 2-1 score heading into the bottom half of the inning. A pair of pop outs ended the Lady Dawgs’ chances.
The two teams combined for seven up and six down in their next at bats before the Lady Knights opened the contest up with the pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Swiney connected on her solo home run over the center field wall for the 3-1 score and a walk by Saylor set up the Garrison RBI single to right field that scored Saylor.
The leadoff home run by Carter in the top of the sixth gave the Lady Dawgs an opportunity but Swiney ended the inning by tagging out Hanna and Scribner at third base on base-running errors in consecutive at-bats.
The Lady Knights threatened to add to their 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Ratcliffe drew a leadoff walk and Swiney doubled to center field, but Saylor was thrown out on a dropped third strike to end the threat. 
Three consecutive pop outs by Cove ended the contest.
With starting pitcher Brooke Schmidt sidelined with a foot injury, Waller started Taylor Martin in the circle where she had a solid outing, allowing four earned runs on eight hits while striking out six and walking six in six innings in the circle.
Hanna was 1 for 2 with a run and a walk while Carter was 1 for 3 with a run, an RBI and a home run to lead the Lady Dawgs. Scribner added 1 for 2, Ismael was 1 for 3 and Wasiak was 1 for 4.
Swiney was 4 for 4 for two runs, two RBIs and a home run to lead the Lady Knights while Stillwell added 1 for 4 and a run, Saylor was 1 for 3 with a run, Garrison was 1 for 2 and Ratcliffe was 1 for 3.
The Lady Dawgs opened the week with a 10-6 road win over Shoemaker on Monday.
Jaya Carter had an RBI triple and Alina Salazar had an RBI double to lead the Cove bats. Schmidt pitched 5 1/2 innings for the win, Taylor Martin earned the save.
“Some are getting it but, until the whole group gets it, we’re going to have up and down games,” said Waller. “The team is still not believing how good they can be. They have all the potential in the world to be a very talented ball club. 
“We just have to have everybody wanting to be coached, get better and doing the right things. They have to be willing to give everything they have every day. If not, they are not getting better.” 
The Lady Dawgs (2-3 in District 8-6A) next face the Killeen Lady Kangaroos on Tuesday at home followed by a home contest against Belton next Friday. The Lady Knights (2-3) travel across town to face Shoemaker Tuesday. 

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