COPPERAS COVE — John Rechorivick felt as if the game was being played on an Xbox.
Every time he went to bat, he felt like it was as easy as pressing a button. The Killeen Kangaroos first baseman went 3 for 3 with four RBIs and scored twice, helping Killeen to a 7-3 District 8-5A opening victory over Copperas Cove.
“It feels kind of like a video game,” the senior said of finding his zone. “It feels like you are Albert Pujols at the plate.”
After first baseman Brandon Smith’s sacrifice bunt sent
Derris Prater across home plate to pull the Bulldawgs within a run, 4-3, heading into the sixth inning, Rechtorovic delivered a hit that scored three runs with the assist of a Copperas Cove error.
“I’m so proud of John Rechtorovic,” Killeen head coach Donald Trcka said. “He’s been struggling a little bit, but he came through tonight. Good things happened when he came up to bat, and it seemed like every time he came up to bat, the bases were loaded, and he knocked in two or three here or there.
“He did a great job, but all the kids did a great job. They came out, fought and competed, and that is all I ask of them each week.”
Killeen (2-6, 1-0) scored seven runs on nine hits, recording a hit in all but two innings. While Rechtorovic led the way, seven Kangaroos posted at least one hit with Doug Bell going 2 for 3 with a pair of singles.
Bell also pitched a complete game, while giving up three hits and striking out four Bulldawgs.
“(Bell) is my guy,” Trcka said. “He keeps the ball down, throws strikes and his changeup and curve ball were working tonight. He did a good job up on the mound.”
Killeen scored the game’s first run in the second inning when Bell sent a hit up the middle of the field that struck an umpire with the bases loaded, sending home Rechtorovic. The Kangaroos increased their cushion in the following inning as Rechtorovic’s hit sent courtesy runner Daniel McCants across home plate.
The Bulldawgs (3-8, 0-1) posted their first hit in the bottom of the third inning on first baseman Brandon Smith’s two-RBI double, scoring Jayson Cole, who was in as a courtesy runner, and Ryan Dorrah to tie the score 2-2.
“I felt I could have put the ball in play a little more,” Smith said of his 1-for-3 hitting performance, “but I felt like I did my job at the plate.”
The score held until the fifth inning, when Rechtorovic hit an RBI single to score teammate Garrett Gaskamp before Devyn Darnell’s RBI single sent Rechtorovic home, giving the Kangaroos a 4-2 advantage.
But Copperas Cove cut the deficit in half on Smith’s sacrifice bunt that scored Prater, but could not get any closer as Rechtorovic’s big sixth inning helped secure the district-opening victory.
“This was big (for building momentum),” Rechtorovic said. “(This could be the start) of a good run. We have to win these must-win games, and then we will move on to the games that teams don’t think we can win, but we are going to win them.”