By Kevin Posival and Nick Talbot

The Cove Herald

Chris Burroughs pitched better when he had a baserunner staring over his shoulder.

The Copperas Cove pitcher fanned eight of his 11 strikeouts with a Shoemaker baserunner at second base and led the Bulldawgs to their first District 12-5A win Tuesday night, 9-2, at Shoemaker.

"Chris always throws a lot of strikes. He usually settles down and deals with guys on base because he gets confident and trusts the defense," said Cove coach C.J. Wilk.

The Grey Wolves left seven stranded in the first four innings while Cove built a 9-0 lead.

Orlando Thomas slapped a three-run home run over the left field fence in Cove's 4-run second and Cody Brannon had a two-run single in the Dawgs' four-run third. Billy Mee led off the fourth inning with a double for Cove and scored on a sacrifice fly by Steven Skalsky.

"We haven't hit the ball as well in district," Wilk said. "We've come up with less guys on base and for Orlando to come in and hit the ball, that was big."

Burroughs pitched a four-hit shutout until the bottom of the seventh when John Gueits' two-run double plated Daniel Naputi and Matt Reed, who both reached on walks.

Shoemaker finished with five hits. The Grey Wolves had two runners reach third base despite having eight reach second.

"We left seven guys on (base) going into that last inning and bases loaded or second and third or first and second and No. 4 (Burroughs), that kid can pitch," said Shoemaker coach Randy Culp. "He pitched himself out of a lot of jams, kept us off base, and tons of times, we get two guys on and bam-bam, he strikes us out.

"Hats off to a kid that does that. You can't do too much about that."

Austin Greene and Burroughs both reached on errors in the second inning. Matt Garrett had a run-scoring single just before Thomas' home run.

The Bulldawgs then started the third with singles from three of their first four batters and loaded the bases with just one out. Mee scored on an error - one of three by Shoemaker - and Greene scored on a fielder's choice before Brannon's single.

Belton 10, Copperas Cove 1 (Friday) - With starting pitcher John Beck, a University of Texas-Arlington signee, still sidelined with a sore arm, the Belton Tigers are counting on Tyler Vail to help fill the void.

So far, so good.

Vail pitched a complete game while striking out six and only allowing two first inning hits as Belton defeated Copperas Cove 10-1 last Friday at Belton High. Vail did not allow a baserunner in the third through sixth innings.

At least Vail did not have to worry about run support.

With one swing, Shane Hoelscher gave him all he needed.

The Belton senior, who has committed to Rice, took a 2-2 pitch from Cove's Cody Brannon and sent it over the right-centerfield fence for a grand slam.

Belton batted around in the five-run second inning as Dillon Newman and Colbi Fuentes both drew walks, Seth Alcozer had an infield single and Cooper Smith an RBI single, all in addition to the bases-clearing blast by Hoelscher.

After Fuentes hit a solo homer to lead off the first, Cove had tied the game in the bottom of the inning after a leadoff double by Cody Brannon and an RBI groundout by Billy Mee.

An inning later, the Bulldawgs' hopes of pulling an upset were quickly dashed with the five-run second inning. In the fourth, Belton scored three more runs, and only needed one hit to do it.

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