Before Copperas Cove faced host Shoemaker on Tuesday night, the Bulldawgs starting pitcher Bryce Delano had a conversation with his catcher Michael Sizemore.
“We fire each other up,” Sizemore said postgame. “Our talk was basically about us both keeping our heads in the game, no matter what happened.”
“My catcher and I decided that we’d be playing catch all game,” Delano said. “That was my mentality going into the game: Me and my catcher are just gonna be playing catch.”
And that’s pretty close to what happened.
Oh, Shoemaker put a little wood on the baseball — two slow-rolling infield singles in seven innings — but Delano clearly owned the Grey Wolves. Mixing changeups, curves and fastballs, Delano struck out six and yielded no earned runs in Cove’s 5-1 win. Cove’s District 8-5A record is now 4-5, Delano is 3-1 on the mound.
“What makes Bryce so good is his confidence,” Sizemore said. “And, just as important, he has a great determination to win.”
Through five innings on Tuesday, Delano faced the minimum 15 batters.
“It was a huge plus for us that Bryce kept his pitch count so low,” said Cove head coach Dusty Brittain, who calls the Bulldawgs pitches. “Obviously Bryce had it all working. His fastball had some jump to it, his curveball kept them off-balance — and that made that fastball he was spotting even better. I wanted Bryce to throw first-pitch strikes, and that’s what he did. When you’re ahead in the count, you can keep them off-balance with off-speed stuff and some fastballs.”
Cove will host Midway tonight. After that, only four district games remain.
“We’re trying to fight back and make it into the playoffs,” Delano said.
And so the Dawgs are banking on Delano to come through in the next two weeks
“We have a lot of confidence in Bryce,” said Cove third baseman Michael Hays. “He was so dominating against Shoemaker and that comes from the fact that he’s been working so hard at practice trying to get his pitches down. Plus, he knew Shoemaker has a lot of kids that can hit hard so he was trying to stay down and out in the zone.”
Delano’s fastball has been clocked at 87.
“This season, it’s been mostly 84 or 85,” he said. “And, actually, I’m not really trying to overpower people. I’m just trying to make strikes and then see what I can make happen for us. It’s all about winning games.”