Harker Heights coach Glenn Cunningham told his players to stay patient, they would get out of their hitting slump.
It took one inning Tuesday and like the longtime coach promised, the Knights’ bats were again hot.
“We just finally came out and hit the ball with some authority,” Cunningham said after the Knights 12-2, five-inning win over Killeen, “not just sprayed the ball around — we hit some doubles, some triples, a home run for Caleb (Dean), which was a good thing. ... It was good to see us break out offensively, a little bit.”
The Knights racked up 14 hits against three Killeen pitchers, including four for extra bases.
Tyler Keller was 3 for 3 with an RBI triple and three runs scored, Robbie Sluss was 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored to lead the Knights (7-7, 1-1 8-5A), who were one-hit in a 6-1 loss to Belton on Friday.
“Nothing was really different — we
prepared the same — we knew we were due for a big game,” Keller said. “We’d just come out and hit, some of us would hit here, some of us would hit there. Tonight, it just all happened at once.”
Keller’s one-out single in the top of the second inning kicked off a four-run inning for the Knights. They added two more in the third after Sluss opened the inning with a double, and plated six runs in the fourth on six hits, including Dean’s three-run homer over the right field fence, before the Roos even managed to get an out in the frame.
Killeen (2-11-1, 1-1) scored its only two runs in the third. Rene Ramirez tripled to plate Wes Brooks, who reached on a two-out walk, and Ramirez scored when Marcos Hinojos reached first on an error.
The Roos had just two hits in the game after scoring seven runs on nine hits in their 8-5A-opening 7-3 win over Copperas Cove last Tuesday.
“We finally got the momentum back a little bit (in the third inning) and then they hit lights out, again, and took the momentum back,” Killeen coach Donald Trcka said. “They tried to get us back into it and it just didn’t work out tonight.”
After a shaky start against Belton, Harker Heights pitcher Kyle Randal walked three and struck out six.
Damion May’s double in the second inning scored Keller, and Randal followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Tyler Torres, who reached on an error. After Randal’s sacrifice, Miles Munro followed with an RBI double that gave the Knights a 4-0 lead.
Sluss led off the third with a double and scored on Keller’s one-out triple. Keller gave the Knights a 6-0 lead when he scored on a wild pitch.
After Munro was hit by a pitch to start the top of the fourth inning, Cody Plagens, Michael Zapata and Sluss hit consecutive singles to give the Knights an 8-0 lead with two on and no one out for Dean. Keller followed Dean’s homer with a single into right field and scored on Torres’ RBI double.
“I’ve told them all along, I think we have a good team here. I really do,” Cunningham said. “I like our kids, they play the game the right way, they come out, they give you everything they’ve got. We’ve just struggled, at times, offensively.”