Since 2008, Copperas Cove has been trying to reach the playoffs and, in a way, the Bulldawgs have accomplished their goal.
Sitting three games behind Temple with three games remaining in the race for District 8-5A’s fourth and final postseason berth, Copperas Cove produced consecutive victories to keep its hopes alive heading into tonight’s regular-season finale.
In order to have a chance at ending their playoff drought, the Bulldawgs must defeat Harker Heights, which has clinched the district’s third seed, at home tonight.
Beating the Knights, however, will not be enough to reach the postseason. The Bulldawgs (13-10-1, 6-7) need last-place Killeen (4-20-2, 1-12) to upset the Wildcats in order to force a play-in game for the final spot against Temple after the two split the season series.
After losing the first encounter 4-2 on the road — a game relocated to Temple hours before the first pitch due to thunderstorms sweeping through Copperas Cove — the Bulldawgs earned a run-rule victory in the rematch with the Wildcats (7-16, 7-6). Bryce Delano threw five strikeouts, while Tim Bechtold, Kyle Winstead and Jayson Cole combined for eight of Copperas Cove’s 10 hits en route to a 10-0 win.
Delano delivered early, striking out two of the first three batters he faced, and the Bulldawgs immediately took advantage, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
The score held through the fourth inning, but in the bottom of the fifth, Copperas Cove’s producing another offensive outburst, posting five runs to extend its lead to 9-0.
In the following inning, Winstead hit a line-drive double to centerfield, sending Bechtold across home plate for the game-winning run. Winstead went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and scored twice, while Bechtold was 3 for 3 with three runs scored, and Cole finished the game 2 for 4.
Now, the Bulldawgs will look to continue their winning ways against a team responsible for beating them by a combined score of 17-5 in two consecutive games going back to last season.
Tonight’s game against the Knights (17-8-1, 9-4) is set for 7 p.m.
Lady Dawgs soccer honored
The founder of Copperas Cove’s soccer program said goodbye to his team Monday evening at the Lady Dawg Soccer Awards Banquet held at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.
Following 28 years of coaching soccer, Hagen Streckel is retiring at the end of the school year. But before he goes, he honored numerous players for their efforts.
With voting determined by the players, District 8-5A Midfielder of the Year and Incarnate Word commit Shelbie Letzer earned the Lady Bulldawg Award.
Seniors Kristin McDonald and Kelsey Skowronski split the Heart Award, while sophomore Ali McBride and junior Amanda Arrisola shared the Most Valuable Offense Award.
Melinda Balades and Alex Johnson ended up tying for the Most Valuable Defense Award, and sophomore Bailey French was named Most Improved.
5 dawgs on all-district list
Copperas Cove seniors Antonio Loffredi and Alex Sinclair ended their high school soccer careers with some lofty recognition, landing on the District 8-5A All-District Team. Loffredi was a first-team selection, while Sinclair placed on the second team.
Three of their teammates were also recognized, earning honorable mentions. The junior trio of Andrew Chapman, Bryce Alexander and Jayson Stanley were each placed on the list.