COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs were the kings of comeback for most of the weekend at the Copperas Cove Invitational baseball tournament.
That streak ended in the championship game.
The Dawgs fell 11-6 Saturday afternoon at Bulldawg Field to the Cedar Park Vista Ridge Rangers after committing four errors combined during the second and third innings that allowed the Rangers to take a 10-0 lead.
“You can take the second and third innings out where we made some mistakes and we played well the rest of the game,” Cove coach C.J. Wilk said. “We came from behind twice against Pflugerville Connally and once against Crawford.”
The errors may have ultimately been the Dawgs’ (3-2) downfall but it was the first inning when Vista Ridge struck.
Catcher Tyler Johnson stepped to the plate with one out. He wasted no time and took Josh Riffle’s first-pitch fastball deep to center for a solo home run and 1-0 lead.
“That was huge for us because it definitely calmed us down and it couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” Rangers’ coach Jason Bourgeios said. “That was his first homer since his freshman year.”
Dylan Bein followed with a double on the first pitch he saw and scored on Alek Lando’s double two batters later to double the lead to 2-1.
Lando also pitched five innings with eight strikeouts and five earned runs to earn the victory.
“Lando located well, changed speeds and threw strikes,” Bourgeois said. “We took him out in the sixth because he had thrown about 90 pitches and was about done.”
Riffle only pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, two earned. The lefty also gave up four hits and two walks in the loss. Third baseman Jayson Cole scored twice for the Dawgs while Riley Childers and Kyle Winstead each had a double.
Wilk said he wasn’t overly concerned with the loss and is proud of his squad for finishing the tournament in second place.
“You play in early season tournaments for a lot of different reasons,” Wilk said. “You want to see kids in different positions and get as much playing time as possible to see what you have in other kids.”