STRIKING BACK

Lady Dawg softball comes out on top after three games in as many days
By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press
 
HARKER HEIGHTS – The Copperas Cove Lady Dawg softball team began a furious three-day schedule with a shutout loss to Midway at home in one of their best defensive performances in the year on Monday before combining for 39 hits and 30 runs in a marathon game at Harker Heights in a 16-14 win on Tuesday and notching a shutout of their own in a 5-0 two-hitter against the Ellison Lady Eagles on Wednesday on the road in a rescheduled game from last Friday.
 
“I think it boosts our confidence,” said junior Madison Wasiak, who connected on a three-RBI in-the-park home run against Harker Heights on Tuesday. “We have it together, we just have to execute out on the field.”
 
They executed pretty well in that three-game stretch.
 
The Lady Dawgs went from the low man on the totem pole to a District 12-6A contender in just three days. They started the three-game span with a 0-2 district record and finished 2-3 an in the mix for one of the four available playoff spots.
 
On Monday, the Lady Dawgs held the No. 9 ranked Midway Pantherettes to just six hits while connecting on four hits of their own. However, six errors that allowed four unearned runs cost the Lady Dawgs in their potential bid for an upset.
 
“We know for a fact that we’re playing for third,” said Cove head coach Bryan Waller referring to No. 6 Belton and No. 9 Midway holding down the top two spots. “It’s going to take a tremendous game (to knock one of them off). “We played Midway very well. Defensively, it was one of the best games of our season. Offensively, we left too many runners stranded. We have to be able to move them over in those big games like that.
 
Marisa Williams, Tessa Fain, Makael Burgess and Wasiak all registered base hits while five more Lady Dawgs reached on walks but all were left stranded.
 
On Wednesday, Cove pitcher Elana Montanez put on a dominant performance in the circle on the way to a 5-0 win. She allowed no runs on two hits while fanning nine and walking four in seven innings.
 
Montanez threw first-pitch strikes against 19 of the 28 batters faced and threw 63 strikes to 40 balls.
 
“We’ve been working on her control,” said Waller. “She has to hit her spots. That’s what I’m stressing to her and Riley (Collier) when they come in. They have to make their pitches count. We’re not talented enough to be able to overcome a certain amount of mistakes.”
 
Zoe Frizzell (2-for-2, R, RBI, BB), Burgess (1-for-3, R, BB) and Fain (1-for-3, R, RBI, BB) led the Cove batters. Williams (1-for-4, 2R), Montanez (1-for-3, BB), Peyton Choate (1-for-4) and Wasiak (1-for-4) also contributed from the plate.
 
Tuesday, however was not dominant for either team in the 30-run affair between the Lady Dawgs and Harker Heights Lady Knights.
 
Cove edged out a surging Heights’ team 16-14 despite doubling the hit output 26 hits to 13.
 
“That’s the best offensive output we’ve had all year,” said Waller. “I had some players that had some very quality at-bats. I want that to be contagious throughout the lineup.
 
“We just have to be able to finish. They had the bases loaded and we had two outs. They scored every single one of those runs with two outs. It takes everybody making that final play; selling out and giving it all they have. If they learn to do that, we’ll turn the corner and get that much better.”
 
The Lady Dawgs plated a pair of runners in the top of the second and third innings to take a 4-0 lead but Heights answered with four runs in the bottom of the third to knot the game at 4-all.
 
The second RBI in as many innings for Frizzell broke the tie, scoring Burgess before Wasiak scored on an error and Frizzell scored on a tag up for a 7-4 Cove advantage.
 
Heights again had an answer.
 
A single by Jessica Reyes and a two-RBI double by Karla Cosme helped the Lady Knights knot the game again at 7-all.
 
The Lady Dawgs then blew the game open with nine runs over the next three innings to take a commanding 16-7 lead.
 
Jayda Carter got things started in the fifth with a double to center field and an RBI single by Collier.
 
After a single to left field by Burgess put two runners on, Wasiak lined a shot down the third-base line for a bases-clearing in-the-park homerun to put the Lady Dawgs up 11-7.
 
“I knew going up I had to do my job and be patient,” said Wasiak. Knowing there were people on base I was thinking, I can’t leave them hanging.”
 
And she did not. Wasiak’s shot just eluded a diving Kiara Tuncap in left field before rolling to the fence, allowing Wasiak time to round third before the relay throw.
 
“It feels good,” she said about the home run and giving her team a four-run lead. “. I didn’t know where the ball was so I was just watching him so I was just like, oh my gosh I’ve got to run.”
 
The Lady Dawgs added another run n the top of the sixth when a single by Burgess score Carter, who doubled to left field to reach.
 
After the second-consecutive three-up, three-down inning by Heights, the Lady Dawgs added their final four runs of the contest in the top of the seventh.
 
A single by Williams go it going and an RBI triple by Fain, a RBI single by Montanez, a single by Choate, an error that scored Montanez and an RBI single by Whittani Washington put the Lady Dawgs firmly in charge and they would need every single run.
 
The Lady Knights rallied with two outs to score seven runs on two walks, two singles, a double and a Cove error but the 10th strikeout of the game by Montanez ended the Lady Knights hopes for a comeback win.
 
Montanez earned the win and the circle despite surrendering 11 runs (10 earned) in 6.2 innings. She also led the Cove batters with her 4-for-5 performance and three runs scored; along with Wasiak (3-for-4, 2R, 3RBI), Burgess (4-for-5, 2R, RBI), Carter (4-for-5, 3R) and Frizzell (2-for-3, R, 2RBI, BB)
 
Also contributing from the plate were Collier (2-for-4, 2R, 2RBI), Choate (2-for-5, 2R, RBI), Fain (2-for-5, R, 2RBI), Williams (2-for-5, R) and Washington (1-for-1, RBI).
 
The Lady Dawgs will get a break now with their next contest coming next Tuesday at home against Shoemaker where they have a chance to even their record.
 
“Every one is focused and wants to win just as much of the next person,” said Wasiak. “We just have to stay relaxed. We can’t overthink it or overdo it because that’s when we make mistakes.”

 

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