Lady Dawgs run-rule Killeen in District 12-6A home opener

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

The saying, ‘It’s not how you start but how you finish,’ rang true for the Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs’ softball team in their 16-2 run-rule victory over the Killeen Lady Kangaroos Wednesday night in their rain-delayed District 12-6A matchup originally scheduled for Tuesday night. 
“We started off slow, but our hitting became very contagious,” said Copperas Cove head softball coach Bryan Waller. “We were aggressive on the bases and took advantage of some miscues and got some runs early based on that. Then the bats came alive in that last inning.”
Trailing 2-1 in the third inning after Killeen pitcher Avalyn James added her own run support with a two-run home run over the centerfield fence, the Lady Dawgs added two runs in the bottom of the third inning to take the lead and added 13 more runs in the bottom of the fourth to blow the game open.
In the bottom of the third inning, lead-off batter senior Kristen Wasiak drew a walk to reach before getting moved to second on a single to left field by senior Jayda Carter. Wasiak then stole third base and advanced home on an errant throw and Carter advanced to third before scoring on a wild pitch for the 3-2 lead.
Cove pitcher Brooke Schmidt then shut down the Lady Roos in order with two strikeouts and a groundout in the top of the fourth inning to set up the offensive onslaught by the Lady Dawgs in the bottom half of the inning. 
Schmidt got it all started when she reached on an error to begin the inning. A walk by Sarina Gray set up the Wasiak sisters. Emma Wasiak connected on an RBI single to score Schmidt before older sister Kristen Wasiak hit a sacrifice bunt to score Gray. 
A walk by Rylie Radigan along with RBI singles by Carter and Madalyn Scribner helped push the Cove lead to 9-2.
Another Killeen error allowed Alina Salazar to reach and set up an RBI single by Nazhoni Wyss and an RBI double by Schmidt for a 13-2 Cove lead with just one out. 
A walk by Gray and an RBI walk by Emma Wasiak made it 11-2 before Schmidt advanced home on a wild pitch for the 12-2 Cove lead.
The third Killeen error of the inning allowed Radigan to reach while Gray and Emma Wasiak advanced home for the 14-2 score.
Radigan advanced home on a wild pitch before a walk by Carter and an RBI double by Scribner closed out the scoring for Cove. 
Schmidt then closed out the game with another three-up, three-down stint on the mound for the Lady Dawgs. 
The Lady Dawgs scored 16 runs on 11 hits with one error while the Lady Roos had two runs on 1 hit with 3 errors.
Schmidt, Carter and Emma Wasiak led the way for the Lady Dawgs. Carter and Wasiak were 2 for 3 with two RBIs each while Schmidt was 2 for 3 with one RBI. 
Schmidt also got the win in the circle while James suffered the loss for the Lady Roos. 
The win moves the Lady Dawgs to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in District 12-6A action.
Waller admits the new schedule, where district play begins just the second game of the regular season, is tricky. They usually have several tournaments before the first district clash. This year, Cove has played just seven games with two of them being 12-6A contests.
“It made the scrimmages really have to count,” said Waller. “I had to do a little more evaluating and be more set in what I wanted done in our scrimmages instead of just letting them all get out there and go. I had to be a little more conservative on how I did things.”
With most of his team returning from last year, Waller believes his team is in a good position to make a run at the 2019 UIL state Softball playoffs.
“As long as we stay healthy and everyone here is contributing, I think we can do really, really good things,” said Waller. “These girls enjoy playing with each other, they care about each other, they’re working hard, and they want each other to be successful. 
“We have a good group here to make a good run. We have our goals set forth that we want to accomplish, but we’ve got to keep working hard every day for them.”
The Lady Dawgs will look to get better when they hit the road for the Marble Falls Tournament this weekend before returning to District 12-6A action on the road against the Ellison Lady Eagles on Tuesday. 
Waller is looking to find some depth as he will be down a couple players in this weekend’s tournament.
“We have to find a couple new people to come out and play because I’m going to be down two girls this tournament,” said Waller. “So, I need to have two girls step up and fill those roles.”

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