Kyle Allred and his Ellison Eagles coined a team mantra a few weeks ago — it’s gonna be train-wreck.
The Eagles understood that though Belton and Waco Midway have separated themselves from the rest of the teams in District 8-5A, the remaining teams are close.
“Anybody can beat anybody,” Allred said. “On any given night any of us can win.”
His words nearly rang true Friday night at Eagles Field against the Killeen Roos, but the team mantra was spot on — it could have been a train wreck.
With the score tied at 4-4 in the sixth inning, the Roos fell apart at the seams, committing four errors, six overall, allowing two unearned runs to score and putting Ellison ahead for good.
“We are a young team and we make mistakes due to inexperience,” Killeen coach Donald Trcka said. “But we will get better and we will learn — we played our hearts out tonight though.”
Despite the win the Eagles (9-19, 6-7 8-5A) still need to beat Shoemaker next Friday at Ellison and have Harker Heights lose to Copperas Cove to clinch a playoff spot without it being a three-way tie for third place at 7-7.
Ellison struck first with two runs in the first inning. Angelo Rodriguez and Ethan Schnaefnocker led off with a single and walk, respectively and starting pitcher Tyler Bark knocked a two-run single up the middle for the 2-0 lead. Bark was dominant for six innings with just one frame that he’d like to have back. Holding a 3-0 lead, Bark allowed a lead-off single to John Rechtorivich in the third inning who scored on a Marquise Winston fielder’s choice.
Bark got the next two Roos out. Another single to Rene Ramirez put two on with two out with junior Garrett Gaskamp at the plate and he sent the first pitch he saw over the left-center field wall for a three-run shot that tied the game. It was all Bark allowed. He tossed a complete-game, 14-strikeout performance that kept the Eagles alive in the playoff hunt for the fourth slot.
“I got angry at myself for those runs but my team backed me up,” Bark said. “I put a lot of pressure myself because I only had two games left in my high school career if we don’t make the playoffs.”
After allowing the runs in the third, Bark struck out the side in the fourth and the sixth while getting two each in the fifth and seventh.
“He was in a groove but that home run kind of woke him up,” Allred said. “After that he pitched with some anger and got the job done.”