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Harker Heights knows what it needs to do down the stretch

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Dennis Knowlton | Herald

Harker Heights’ Daniel Cole pitches against Killeen on Tuesday at Killeen. 

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After Harker Heights picked up a crucial 5-1 win against Killeen, a leery Glenn Cunningham noted that, as badly as his team needed a victory, the Knights might as well get familiar with the situation they’re in.

“They’re all important now,” the Knight head coach said. “We’re on the stretch run down there.”

The fact that Heights — a team that was just one game out of first two weeks ago — is now clinging to the fourth and final playoff spot in District 8-5A explains why Cunningham wasn’t completely satisfied with a game that saw Daniel Cole retire 19 straight batters.

Heights managed just two hits in the first five innings against Killeen, which was enough to earn the Knights a slim 2-1 lead against the Roos, who scored first thanks to back-to-back doubles to open the game.

The two runs Heights scored on a single by Michael Rae Zapata ultimately proved to be enough to win the game.

But Cunningham and the Knights know that, going forward, they may not be able to wait until the final two innings to bust loose as they did against Killeen.

“I thought we played good defense,” Cunningham said, “it’s just the offensive side of the game.”

Cunningham said he believes the Knights are pressing at the plate, and Cole agreed with him.

Instead of swinging for the fences every at-bat, Cole said the Knights need to embrace small ball and simply focus on getting runners on base.

After all, it worked well for the Knights late in the game Tuesday.

“Especially at the end there,” Cole said.

“We just got runners on base and hit them in. That’s all we need to do.”

Heights will get its chance to improve its hitting when it takes on Ellison on Friday.

The game will be a rematch of a hard-fought 3-1 victory by the Knights in Harker Heights earlier this season.

Ellison is also one of the teams in close pursuit of the Knights for fourth place.

And while Heights knows the importance of the games that remain, the Knights also feel up to the task of stepping up at the plate as needed.

“Our guys know it’s there,” Cunningham said. “We’re capable of getting the job done.”

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

1 image

Dennis Knowlton | Herald

Harker Heights’ Daniel Cole pitches against Killeen on Tuesday at Killeen.