After dropping their first two home games of the season to open the Killeen ISD Tournament, senior Doug Bell and the Killeen Kangaroos knew they had to come back and defend their home field.
They couldn’t have picked a better day as Bell struck out five batters and the Roos put up five runs in the second to cruise past Waco 7-1 on Friday.
Bell allowed just one earned run on four hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings of work.
“It’s always your home field and you want to put on a nice show,” Bell said. “This is your house, you want to protect your house.”
Killeen picked up its first victory in the tournament on a picturesque afternoon with the game-time temperatures in the mid-70’s.
The Roos lost to Rockdale 6-5 and Little River Academy 10-0 during Thursday’s opening-day games.
Offensively, the Roos were led by the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 hitters of Marquis Winston, Rene Ramirez and Bell. Ramirez was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored, Winston was 2 for 3 with two runs and a double while Bell was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a double.
“I think we just started thinking about yesterday,” Winston said. “We just got to go out there, get them and, like Coach says, don’t let go.”
Senior infielder Garrett Gaskamp made his return to the Roos lineup and brought in the opening run from the cleanup spot. Gaskamp reached on an infield error that scored Winston with an out in the bottom of the first to make it 1-0.
Killeen blew it open in the second with five runs on five hits.
Jequell Johnson doubled the Killeen lead with an infield single that scored a run and combined with Ramirez on a double-steal for Killeen’s fourth run of the inning. Bell capped the scoring with an RBI double to left.
With a 6-0 lead, Bell had all the room he needed to hold off Waco for the rest of the game.
“It’s a nice day, it’s a nice win and I’m looking forward to the next game,” Bell said.
Bell pitched himself out of a jam when Waco had two on in the top of the third. Chris Barber came in from left field to pitch the Roos out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth.
Barber pitched 1 1/3 innings and put Waco away in order in the top of the seventh to preserve the win.
“We came out today, the kids were ready to play and they did a good job in this first game,” Killeen head coach Donald Trcka said.
Against Rockdale, Ramirez was 2 for 2 with three runs scored while Bell went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Academy used a five-run top of the second to blow the game open. Barber went 2 for 2 from the plate.
The Roos continue tournament play today with a home game against the Austin Maroons at 10 a.m.