Walk-off single by Carbajal propels Cove past Ellison
By TJ MAXWELL
Cove senior Josh Carbajal has been swinging the bat well but his timing may be even better.
He connected on a three-RBI triple to open up a 16-5 lead in the fifth inning against Killeen in the district opener and a three-RBI home run in the seventh as he compiled eight RBIs to help secure the Bulldawgs’ 23-10 win over the Roos.
Carbajal again came through with late-game heroics on Tuesday at home against Ellison with a walk-off single to earn the Bulldawgs a 5-4 win over the Eagles and plant Cove firmly in the District 12-6A title chase.
Carbajal only connected on one hit on the night but that is all he would need as that hit came with two runners on in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing by one
“I was really relaxed when I saw there were no outs with runners at first and second so I wasn’t try to do too much with it – just put it in play and move the runners over,” said Carbajal. “As soon as I hit it, I thought he was going to catch it but once I saw it drop I was excited.”
With the tying run in scoring position, Ellison’s Preston Mills attempted to run down the Carbajal blooper to left field but the shot dropped in front of Mills and rolled past allowing both runners - Jeremi Hawkins and Michael Hays - to blaze home for the win.
“It feels amazing,” Carbajal said of the win. “This was a big game for us to win because I think it’s going to give us more confidence moving forward. I think we’re going to be able to take on bigger teams. I feel like this was a great win and a must-win.”
The Bulldawgs trailed the entire contest until Carbajal made contact with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.
“Hats off to Josh,” said Cove head baseball coach Dusty Brittain. “That was a big hit and it put some pressure on them to try to make that out. It was not very pretty but we’ll take the win anytime we can get one.
“It was exciting for the kids. We had a lot of opportunities but couldn’t really come through with that big inning and that big hit but the kids kept scrapping.”
Trailing 4-3, Cove had an opportunity to at least tie the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning when Terrance Chamberlin’s shot to right field was dropped but Hawkins, who reached base in all four plate appearances, tripped rounding third and was thrown out at home to prevent the tying run. Hawkins made up for it by drawing a walk to lead-off the fateful seventh inning and again represent the tying run. Hays was then hit by the pitch of Ellison’s Edward Eakin to put the winning run on the base paths for the Carbajal walk-off.
“I’m feeling great,” Carbajal said of hit plate approach. “I’ve got a good approach heading to the plate to relax my eyes and relax my breathing and I think it’s been working for me to help me be relaxed for big situations like this. I don’t get ahead of myself. I take it one pitch at a time. If I get behind in the count, I trust in myself that I can come back.”
Free bases almost cost the Dawgs the win. Four walks, a hit batsmen and a fielding error helped the Eagles build a 4-0 lead over the first three innings. A total of 10 Eagle batters were walked or hit by a pitch in the contest.
“We’re just trying to simplify everything and getting a repeated motion that’s easy,” Brittain said about addressing the inordinate amount of walks. “I think a lot of it is in the head. It’s a mental block and then you get frustrated and start to change what you do with your body. I think it’s something to build from because it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past.”
The Bulldawgs (12-4, 2-1 in District 12-6A) cut the Eagles’ lead in half with a two-run bottom of the third. After freshman Colby Jost was hit by the pitch of Ellison’s Brett Pagel and senior Tim Bechtold reached on an error by Eagles’ third baseman Jose Ubiles, Hawkins knocked home Jost with a single to left field and Hays scored Bechtold on sacrifice fly to right field.
The Eagles threatened again in the top of the fifth when two walks and a hit batsmen loaded the bases for the Eagles with two, prompting a pitching change for the Dawgs. Hays came in a sat down Ellison’s Tayvon Dawson to end the threat and maintain the one-run deficit
Hays finished the contest with no runs on one hit while striking out five and walking one in 2 1/3 innings to earn the win for the Dawgs.
Eakin suffered the loss for the Eagles in relief for Pagel.
Hawkins was a perfect 2-for-2 with a run, an RBI and two walks in four appearances at the plate to lead the Bulldawgs. Carbajal was 1-for-2 with an RBI and two walks followed by Neeko Kirk (2-for-3), Cameron Johnson (1-for-3, RBI) and Bechtold 1-for-4, R). Also contributing were Hays (0-for-1, R, RBI) and Jost (0-for-1, R, BB).
Douglas (1-for-2, 2BB) and Ubiles (1-for-2, 2BB) led the Eagles’ bats along with Chandler Rowe (1-for-3, 2RBI) and Pagel (1-for-4).
The Bulldawgs were tested again last night with a road trip to face the Midway Panthers with Carbajal taking the mound for the Dawgs.
“I need to keep the ball down,” Carbajal said about his start on the mound against Midway. “I need to find my curve ball, find my pitches and hit my spots. If get a walk or get behind in the count I just need to stay relaxed, take a deep breath and pitch my heart out.”
Brittain likes the Dawgs’ chances with Carbajal on the mound.
“We got our guy going on the mound in Midway and one thing he does is throw strikes,” he said. “We’re really excited about getting a chance at those guys.”
Results for the game versus Midway were not available as of press time Thursday. Results to come in Tuesday’s Copperas Cove Leader-Press.
Lady Dawgs 13, Shoemaker 3, 6 innings
The Lady Dawgs have reeled off three-straight wins, including Tuesday’s 13-3 mercy-rule win over Shoemaker, after beginning District 12-6A action with three-straight losses to even their record at 3-3 and put themselves in the hunt for the four coveted playoff spots.
Tuesday’s win put the Lady Dawgs (3-3) in fourth place behind Belton (5-0), Midway (4-1) and Killeen (3-2) through the first round of district action.
The Lady Dawgs combined for 12 hits in 25 at-bats on their way to the run-rule win over the Lady Wolves.
A three-RBI home run by Tessa Fain helped the Lady Dawgs to a 7-0 lead after two innings. After three runs by Shoemaker in the top of the third, singles by Marissa Williams and Jayda Carter, along with a double by Elana Montanez, helped the Lady Dawgs extend their lead to 11-3.
Cove extended their lead with a single run in each of the next two innings to open up a 10-run lead. Carter walked before advancing on wild pitches and an error to score in the fifth. Makael Burgess doubled to reach and Madison Wasiak doubled to score Burgess in the sixth in the bottom of the sixth for the walk-off win.
Carter (2-for-2, 4R, 2BB), Fain (1-for-2, R, 3RBI, HR, 2BB), Williams (2-for-3, 2R, BB), Burgess (2-for-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB), Wasiak (2-for-4, 2B, RBI), Montanez (1-for-1, 2B, RBI, 2BB), Peyton Choate (1-for-3, R, 2RBI, 2B) and Zoe Frizzell (1-for-3, R) accounted for the Lady Dawgs’ hits.
Montanez earned the win in the circle for Cove. She allowed three earned runs on five hits while fanning seven and walking one in six innings.
Edison (2-for-3, R, RBI) led the Shoemaker batters and Casiano suffered the loss in the circle.