In its 14-10 road win against Ellison on Tuesday, the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs found out a lot about themselves.
First-year head coach Bryan Waller was impressed with the Lady Bulldawgs’ efforts in building a seven-run lead in 2½ innings.
But he was even more impressed by the resiliency Cove (11-10, 3-2 8-5A) showed to regain the lead after Ellison erased that seven-run deficit an inning later.
“Fighting through that rough stretch, fighting through that hiccup that we had and coming through there in that top of the sixth inning and that four-run lead, giving us that big cushion, that was the big difference,” Waller said.
Cove began the game hot at the plate, taking advantage of every Ellison error and every Lady Eagle walk in scoring 10 runs by the middle of the third.
In that span alone, Cove had four extra-base hits and scored on both Lady Eagle errors.
But Ellison, which prides itself on hitting, showed the firepower in its lineup by making up the seven-run lead in less than two innings.
After Cove was nearing a run-rule victory in the middle of the third, it was tied at 10 by the end of the fourth.
For Waller, part of the reason was a season-long issue of fielding errors.
“That’s been our big focus is that we’ve got to back up our pitchers, no matter who’s on the mound,” Waller said. “They’re throwing their tails off. They’re pitching their hearts out out there. And we know that they’re not going to pitch every pitch like it’s supposed to every time. And when they hit routine ground balls we’ve got to be able to field it. And that’s what allowed that inning to build up.”
With the game tied, Waller said he felt like his team began trying to force the issue at the plate.
Once they settled down, and stopped swinging at first pitches, Waller felt it was only a matter of time before Cove regained control.
And he was proven correct in the sixth when Cove scored four runs to regain the lead for good.
But most importantly, Cove capitalized on its opportunity in the sixth, when it loaded up the bases and Irene Espinoza promptly cleared them with a game-changing double.
For Waller, it was a sign of what he hopes are things to come.
“We load them up, but we haven’t been able to get them in,” he said. “And we’ve got to be able to do that if we want to have a successful run to finish up the rest of district.”