For three Killeen ISD teams, it’s all come down to one game.
Of course, that one game could lead to a few more, depending on how things fall tonight.
Despite an up-and-down district slate, the Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker baseball teams still control their own playoff destiny.
The key game is at Ellison, where the fourth-place Eagles (9-19, 6-7) host the third-place Grey Wolves at 7 p.m. and only one game separating the two teams. Harker Heights (12-13, 6-7), which is tied with Ellison in fourth, will host Copperas Cove at 7 p.m.
“We know if we win, we keep playing. If we lose, we’re done,” Eagles coach Kyle Allred said.
The simplest scenario is for Harker Heights and Shoemaker (15-11, 7-6) to win, locking up the third and fourth seeds and solidifying the playoff situation. Though, if either loses, a play-in game situation unfurls for at least two of the KISD teams.
If Ellison and Harker Heights both win tonight, all three KISD programs are slated to battle it out in a play-in playoff series Saturday at Killeen High for the final two seeds in 8-5A. If they both lose, the Eagles and Knights will play a winner-takes-all play-in game for the fourth playoff spot.
Of course, if Ellison wins and throws a wrench in the whole situation, the Eagles will take on Shoemaker for the second time in as many days at 1 p.m., with the loser then taking on Harker Heights at 4 p.m. for the final spot.
“With three KISD teams involved, it’s only going to help whoever comes out on top,” Allred said of the play-in scenario. “Whoever gets the (last) two playoff spots, it’s going to help their program.”
All three programs have a lot on the line. Shoemaker is seeking its first-ever playoff trip, while the Eagles and Knights are looking to snap long playoff droughts. The last time both made it was in 2010.
Shoemaker has lost two straight to district-leading Waco Midway and Belton but won five in a row before then to put themselves in this position.
Ever since a four-game win streak earlier in district play, capped by a 13-2 drubbing of Temple on March 22, the Knights lost six of their last eight games, including a tough-luck 2-1 loss to Midway last Friday.
On the flipside, Ellison has come on of late, winning three of its last four and six of its last 10.
Since a 3-1 loss at Temple on April 12, the Eagles have won back-to-back games and Allred believes it’s that do-or-die mentality that has carried them into this situation.
“We knew if we lost again, we would probably be done, so that’s worked out in our favor because we’ve been in this situation for the last week or so,” Allred said.
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7566