Copperas Cove has nowhere to go but up.
After three unsuccessful seasons under former head coach C.J. Wilk, the Bulldawgs received a fresh start during the offseason as Dusty Brittain inherited the program. Following a four-year stint as an assistant at Gatesville, where he graduated in 1998 before pitching collegiately at McMurry University, Brittain is beginning his first season as a head coach.
Along with a change in management, the Bulldawgs will be fielding a new-look team after graduation picked apart the roster.
While nine lettermen will be returning, Copperas Cove lost eight seniors from last season’s team, including pitcher/first baseman Brandon Smith, who was one of only two Bulldawgs to receive 8-5A All-District recognition last year.
Sophomore outfielder Tim Bechtold returns to the team, however, after landing on the all-district second team as a freshman.
A mere five games into the season, it appears all the change is benefitting the Bulldawgs.
In 2013, Copperas Cove went 5-23 overall after winning three of its first four games, finishing the season on a seven-game losing streak. Under Brittain, the Bulldawgs are 2-2-1, outscoring their opponents by a combined 22-0 in their victories.
Offensively, Kyle Winstead currently leads the team in hits with six, but five other players have delivered at least four hits apiece, and a total of seven Bulldawgs are hitting over .300.
Conner Lake is emerging as one of the team’s most promising pitchers, striking out 10 batters in two games while only allowing two hits and two runs.
The Bulldawgs must find a way to win during district, though.
Over the past three seasons, Copperas Cove is 10-32 in district play, going 2-12 twice, including last year.
The Bulldawgs open district at Killeen on March 11.