By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
Shabanese Brown hit two home runs and drove in seven runs the first time Copperas Cove and Shoemaker met this season.
So going into Tuesday at home, it was highly unlikely Cove's senior shortstop would get pitched to unless the Lady Grey Wolves had to. She was hit by a pitch and walked twice in three of her first four at bats. But with two outs, the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning and the score tied, Shoemaker didn't have a choice.
Shoemaker starter Karlye Stapleton had to pitch to Brown. And Brown came through, hitting the third pitch she saw over the left-field wall for a walk-off grand slam and 13-9 Lady Bulldawg win over Shoemaker.
It was Brown's second homer of the game - she hit her first to lead off the third inning. She was hit on the first pitch she saw in the first inning and had just one total strike in her fifth- and sixth-inning at bats.
"It was frustrating - nobody wants to get walked," said Brown, who has four grand slams this year. "But at the same time it pays off because they couldn't walk me."
Brown's heroics almost never happened. Cove (16-11, 5-4 in District 12-5A) went into the bottom of the seventh inning down 9-7 after Shoemaker took the lead. The Lady Grey Wolves (9-15, 2-7) scored five runs in the final three innings, including run-scoring singles from Darian Emmou and Katie Quinn in the seventh.
Emmou, Shoemaker's No. 9 hitter, hit a three-run home run in the second inning, retaking the lead and putting the Lady Grey Wolves up 4-2.
Shoemaker left the bases loaded in the seventh inning, but Cove went into its last at-bat with Brown scheduled to be the eighth batter in the inning.
Savannah Seybold, who went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer herself, led off the seventh inning with a walk but was forced out on Brianna Sinclair fielder's choice. Stapleton then walked Megan Martel and gave up a Mari Chavez single to loaded the bases with one out.
Katie Parris followed with a grounder to Shoemaker shortstop Morgan Estes, who threw home to Ashley Shannon for the force before the catcher turned and threw to first base. There was no immediate signal at either base (Sinclair was ruled safe), and the ball ended up at second base while a second run (Martel) scored.
"He said that she pulled her foot at home," Shoemaker coach Stacey Halim said of the umpire ruling Shannon's foot came off home plate before the throw reached the plate. "So that was it and I could have sworn he called her out, but he said, 'I never called her out.' And then (Katie Parris) was safe at first."
The sequence took Cove back to the top of its order, and Stapleton got Ashley Hartwell to fly out for the second out. She then hit Justine Hartwell, loading the bases with two outs and Brown due up.
Cove 3, Ellison 2, 8 inn. (April 1) - The last time Copperas Cove met Ellison it needed a Brown game-winning single to win. It happened again last week. It just wasn't Brown who came through.
The senior started the rally, but it was Paige Thornhill who provided the game-winner. Thornhill's single fell between Ellison left fielder Jilena Tunstill and shortstop Halley Ingram, scored Brown and Cove made one last defensive stand in the bottom half of the eighth to beat Ellison.
Ellison made it interesting in the bottom half of the inning, with Kasey Busch singling to left field and Rayven Jones following with an infield single. A fielder's choice gave Cove one out and second moved the runners to third and second base. Cove pitcher Katelynn Stephens ended the game with her 15th strikeout.