Once again, Harker Heights found itself in a tight District 8-6A contest at home Wednesday, and once again the Knights prevailed.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and the game tied at 3-3, Daniel Cole took the first pitch he saw and drove it over the wall in left field. The senior also entered the game in relief and recorded the final three outs on the mound on three straight strikeouts, and Harker Heights prevailed 4-3.
Cole went 2 for 3 overall at the plate.
The Knights took an early 2-0 lead, as RBI singles by Tre Martin and Spencer Young in the bottom of the first scored Justin Gordon and Zane Wallace, respectively.
The Bulldawgs scored a run in the top of the third on a wild pitch, which allowed Michael Goudeau to scamper home from third to pull within 2-1.
Harker Heights (9-12-1, 6-3 8-6A) pushed its lead back out to two in the home half of the frame on another RBI single by Young. Young ended the contest 3 for 3 with three singles.
But in the top of the fourth, a two-base error off the bat of Goudeau plated Copperas Cove’s Cedric Camacho and Nick Izquierdo to tie it up at 3-3.
The score remained the same until the sixth, when Cole’s solo blast put the Knights ahead for good.
“The big hit by Daniel late in the game, he’s that guy you want up there, for sure,” Harker Heights head coach Randy Culp said. “I’m real proud of him, but we manufactured some runs early.
“We got some big hits out of our 7-hole (Young). He’s been struggling, but he went 3 for 3 and had two big RBIs. I was really proud of him tonight.”
Jacob Mitchell started the game on the hill for the Knights and threw five innings and allowed three runs — one earned — on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
Martin earned the win, throwing an inning-plus and registering one strikeout while walking two. He was relieved by Cole in the seventh after issuing a free pass to the Bulldawgs’ Cameron Johnson.
Johnson took the loss for Copperas Cove (10-11, 4-5). He threw 5 2/3 innings and surrendered four runs on eight hits and five walks with five strikeouts.
“Copperas Cove is playing well this year — solid,” Culp said. “To come out and get a win any way you can, we’ll take it. I thought Jacob threw really well, but he got his pitch count up there because they had some long at-bats, and Cove did a really good job of fouling some balls off and putting us in a bind.
“That’s just kind of the day and age we live in now with the pitch count, but he did a great job. I was real proud of Tre coming in there and kind of setting it up for us, and then Daniel for coming in there and closing the door.”
At press time, Harker Heights was scheduled to finish its two-game set with the Bulldawgs on Thursday at Copperas Cove.