Lady Dawgs take fourth place with run-rule win over Ellison
By TJ MAXWELL
With his starting pitcher Brooke Schmidt and heavy-hitter Jayda Carter benched with injuries, Copperas Cove head coach needed the rest of his squad to step up to keep pace in the chase for a District 12-6A playoff spot.
The squad combined for 15 hits on their way to a 16-6 mercy-rule win over the Ellison Lady Eagles in five innings of action Friday night at Lady Dawg Field.
“That’s what we work on in practice,” said Waller. “I’m challenging these girls each game to win each inning. We feel if we win enough innings out of the seven, that we can win the ball game. We’re working on quality things in practice, trying to work on the mental side of it mostly. Our biggest issue at the plate is the mental side of trusting what we know to do and getting it done.
“They picked up the bats of Jayda and Brooke and they’re working for each other. That’s all I can ask for.”
Junior Nazhoni Wyss was 4 for 4 with four RBIs and two runs while sophomore Alina Salazar went 3 for 4 with five RBIs and two runs, including a grand slam that broke the game open in the bottom of the second inning.
“When I go up to bat, I just want to get a base hit and move runners around,” said Salazar. “I don’t really go up there swinging for the fences, but if it comes, it comes.
“I don’t really feel any pressure because I just feel like I’m not doing it for them, but with them.”
The Lady Eagles took the early lead in the top of the first inning when Andrea Lopez connected with a two-run home run against Cove freshman pitcher Emma Wasiak. Kyla Friendly was knocked home by Lopez after doubling to reach.
The Lady Dawgs responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the 3-2 lead.
A lead-off walk by senior Kristen Wasiak and another walk by senior Rylie Radigan put two runners on for the Lady Dawgs before Salazar connected on her first hit of the night with an RBI single to left field.
Wyss then connected on a two-RBI single that scored Wasiak and Radigan for the 3-2 score.
The Lady Eagles knotted the game at 3-all in the top of the second inning when Dora Solis connected on a double to left field, scoring Anyssa Chelby who reached on a single to right field.
The Lady Dawgs then exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the inning to open an 11-3 advantage.
Freshman Angelica Montanez reached on an error to lead off the inning for Cove while fellow freshman Emma Wasiak singled to the apron and sister Kristen Wasiak was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Radigan then kept the bases loaded with a fielder’s choice that put Montanez out at home plate and Salazar cleared the base paths with a grand slam home run over the center field fence for the 7-3 Cove lead.
“It feels pretty great,” Salazar said about the grand slam and the win. “I’m not going to lie. This morning, I had kind of a bad feeling, but it proved to be nothing.”
Singles by senior Madalyn Scribner and Wyss put two more runners on before a hard ground ball to left field by senior Maria Hanna scored Scribner, Wyss advanced home on a wild pitch and Emma Wasiak connected on an RBI single for the 11-3 score. Wasiak scored Montanez who reached on a walk.
“Our bats came alive in the second innings and it was just one of those contagious innings,” said Waller. Alina crushed it. That was one of the best hits at this field that I’ve seen. It got us up, but we had to stay on them the whole time.”
Ellison got one of those runs back in the top of the third when K.D. Trimble tagged up from third on the sacrifice fly by Sammy Guitterrez.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Lady Eagles again cut into the Lady Dawgs’ lead with a two-run top of the fifth.
A triple by Trimble to the right-field fence put a runner in scoring position and a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Friendly made it an 11-5 game.
Lopez then connected with her second home run of the night on a solo shot to left field for the 11-6 lead.
The Lady Dawgs responded with five runs in the bottom half of the inning to invoke the mercy rule.
Radigan drew a lead-off walk and Scribner singled to put two runners on before Wyss connected with her fourth hit of the night on a two-out, two-RBI double to make it a 13-6 Cove lead.
Hanna then drew a walk and Montanez singled to again juice the bases for the Lady Dawgs before an RBI single by Emma Wasiak scored courtesy runner Terrianna Davis and Montanez advanced home on a wild pitch for the game-winning run.
Emma Wasiak (3 for 4, R, 3RBI), Hanna (2 for 3, R, RBI, BB), Scribner (2 for 4, 2R) and Montanez (1 for 3, 2R, BB) accounted for the rest of Cove’s 15 hits on the night.
Lopez was 2 for 3 with two runs, three RBIs and two home runs to lead the Lady Eagles. Trimble (2 for 3, 2R), Friendly (2 for 3, R, RBI) Guitterrez (1 for 3, RBI), Chelby (1 for 3, R) and Solis (1 for 1, RBI, BB) accounted for the rest of the Lady Eagles’ nine hits.
Emma Wasiak picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Dawgs. She surrendered six earned runs on nine hits while striking out one and walking two in five innings of action.
“Emma as a freshman has come in and done what we’ve asked her to do,” said Waller. We know that she’s not going to strike everybody out. We ask her to throw the ball into the zone and trust our defense and the defense played phenomenal tonight. We had some great plays at third, at shortstop and the middle infield was playing great as well.”
Trimble suffered the loss for the Lady Eagles. She allowed 11 runs (six earned) on nine hits while striking out one and walking three in three innings of action.
The Lady Dawgs (6-5) currently sit in the fourth-place spot behind undefeated Belton (11-0), Waco Midway (10-1) and Temple (7-3) with Shoemaker (5-5), Harker Heights (5-6) and Waco (3-7) laying chase and Killeen (1-10) and Ellison (0-11) rounding out the standings.
The Lady Dawgs travel to Waco to take on the Lions tonight while the Lady Eagles travel to Harker Heights.
UPDATED 12-6A SOFTBALL STANDINGS
Waco Midway (10-1)
Copperas Cove (6-5)
Harker Heights (5-6)