KILLEEN – Bryce Delano does not care what uniform he is wearing. The senior simply wants to win.
After starting his high school career at Shoemaker, the pitcher transferred to Copperas Cove during the offseason and quickly became a force for the Bulldawgs, cementing himself as one of the team’s leading hitters while maintaining an unblemished record on the mound.
On Tuesday, Delano produced one of his best all-around games, striking out nine batters and hitting a grand slam home run as the Bulldawgs won their District 8-5A opener at Killeen by a score of 13-3.
But Delano wants more, and he does not care who gets in his way, including his former Grey Wolves, who host Copperas Cove tonight at 7 p.m.
“I’m going to be home, but I’m out for blood,” he said. “I’ve got to do what my teams needs me to do to get the victory. So, there will be no friends on Friday.”
Perhaps not on the field, but Delano will have plenty of supporters in the stands after his hot start to the season.
In addition to striking out 13 batters en route to a 2-0 pitching record, the right-hander has a batting average of .324 and his 17 RBIs leads the Bulldawgs.
At Killeen, Delano recorded a pair of hits, bringing his season total to 11 and placing him fourth on the team behind seniors Kyle Winstead and Jayson Cole and sophomore Tim Bechtold, who have 16 hits apiece.
The added offense has done wonders for the Bulldawgs, who have already eclipsed last season’s win total and are halfway to tying their district record from a year ago.
Copperas Cove (8-3-1, 1-0) is currently riding a five-game winning streak after going 5-23 overall, including a span of 15 consecutive losses, and 2-12 in district in 2013. The season culminated with C.J. Wilk stepping down as head coach following a three-year stint with the program.
Former Gatesville assistant Dusty Brittain accepted the position over the summer, and has managed to change the mentality in his first season, according to Delano.
“We have a new coach, and we are rebuilding the program,” he said. “We practice hard and listen to Coach Brittain because he knows what he is talking about. He coaches us, and we play for him.”
It shows on the scoreboard.
The Bulldawgs have produced double-digit run totals in six of their eight wins and have only suffered one loss since being outscored 25-9 in back-to-back defeats to open the season.
The Bulldawgs are riding a five-game winning streak heading into tonight’s game against the Grey Wolves (5-8-1, 0-1), and Brittain is pleased with his team’s collective progression to his point.
“I feel like our pitchers are having some of their better outings going into district, and that is big,” he said. “And right now, I think we are hitting as well as anybody, so we’ve just got to keep it up against the good quality pitchers we will see over the upcoming games.”
Like Brittain, Delano agrees Copperas Cove still has a lot to prove.
“It is really good to start district off with a win, but it is not stopping here,” he said. “We’ve got to keep going strong and see what we can make happen.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org