COPPERAS COVE — It took just 12 pitches for Harker Heights to get on the board Friday against Copperas Cove.
But when Cove got its chance, it snatched the momentum and put the game away just as swiftly as Heights had scored to start it.
The end result was an 18-2 Cove victory as the Lady Bulldawgs continued their upward trend heading into a meeting with Mansfield Timberview to open the Class 5A playoffs.
“It’s good to keep the bats going, the momentum going, the runs scoring,” Cove head coach Bryan Waller said. “We’ve improved every game in district.”
Timberview swept Cove (17-14, 9-5 8-5A) in the bi-district round last season, and the teams will meet again in a three-game series at Waco ISD Sports Complex next week. Game 1 will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. while Game 2 will be Saturday at 4 p.m. and Game 3, if necessary, 30 minutes after Game 2.
Heights, meanwhile, ends its season with a record of 9-21 after being eliminated from the playoff race in the second to last game of the regular season.
After the game Friday, Lady Knight head coach Jaime Stephens was already putting the game in the context of building for next season.
“The kids that are returning, we have to take this season as a positive note,” Stephens said. “This is the first time in at least eight years that we were even in playoff contention. So we have to carry that momentum.”
After Gillian Pons opened the game with a leadoff single for Heights, Alexandra Roques drove her in two batters later with an RBI single to left for a 1-0 lead.
Heights, however, left two on in the top of the first.
“We didn’t get too down on ourselves,” Cove first baseman Autumn Hughes said. “We knew we could come back and get them.”
Cove did just that in the bottom of the first. The first six batters reached, including four straight hits to start the frame.
The second batter, Angel Mullen, knotted the score with an RBI triple, and one batter later, Hughes gave Cove the lead for good with an RBI single to left.
Cove scored four runs on five hits in the inning.
In the second inning, the Lady Bulldawgs sent nine batters to the plate and scored five runs on four hits.
Hughes got the scoring started in the second with an RBI double to left center. Hughes was 3 for 4 in the game with four RBIs.
“I think I am watching the ball a lot better,” Hughes said. “So it’s helping me make better contact with the ball and hitting the ball out there.”
Elliana Doubleday also had three hits, going 3 for 3 with a walk while Mullen and Destiny Henderson also notched multiple hits. Cove had 16 hits as a team.
And while Waller said he couldn’t have asked for a better response from his team to Heights’ early run, after the game, he was most proud of his seniors, who went out strong in their final home game.
“This night was a night to honor seniors and those seniors got in and they came through,” Waller said. “I was so proud of those girls to get those big, clutch hits and open up the game for us.”