After spending some time on the road to open the season, Ellison, Killeen and Shoemaker finally were able to get back home. The baseball teams from the city’s four schools competed at the Killeen ISD Tournament over the weekend.
“We’re growing up,” Killeen head coach Donald Trcka said. “Like I told my kids today, we’re better at this point now than we were last year. We’re way ahead of where we need to be.”
Both Killeen and Shoemaker were 1-4 during the tournament, Ellison was 0-4 and Copperas Cove had the best showing of any local school by winning its last three games.
The tournament had a round-robin format with no formal champion and did not have an all-tournament team.
But Trcka said the performances of Doug Bell and Chris Barber stood out in his mind.
“Pitching’s the key,” Trcka said. “When I start Bell or Barber on the mound, we’re pretty good.”
Bell combined to hit .500 (6 for 12) with five RBIs and three runs while pitching 9 2/3 innings, accumulating 10 strikeouts and allowing just one earned run.
Barber hit .333 (5 of 15) with two RBIs and struck out three in three innings of work from the plate.
The two combined to turn away Waco in a 7-1 home win on Friday. Bell pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and allowing just one earned run.
He left the game with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, but Barber came in and struck out the next batter and retired the side in the top of the seventh to preserve the win.
The Roos (2-6-6) will take on Austin Crockett at the Austin Baseball Tournament at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Garrison Park.
Shoemaker (5-5) opened the tournament with a 6-5 win over Waco, but lost the next four to Waco University, Rockdale, Austin High and Lorena.
Raven Sauceda was a bright spot for Shoemaker, going 1 for 4 with a run scored against University, getting a walk against Waco and accumulating two hits and an RBI against Rockdale.
“It all started with Raven and it seems like that’s the way it always is,” Shoemaker head coach Harry Zambrana said after the loss to University.
Zach Jacobs got Shoemaker’s offense going with a triple to right-center field and scored a run on an Alex Bartz groundout that tied the game at 1-1.
The Grey Wolves open Austin Tournament play on at 2:30 p.m. Thursday against Kerrville.
Ellison (2-7) lost all four games, but those included a 6-5 loss to Rockdale and a 12-11 loss to Waco. Against Waco, the Eagles scored four in the bottom of the seventh before the rally fell short.
Pitcher and infielder Sam Weston had a strong tournament, particularly against Waco and Rockdale. Against Waco, he struck out five batters and had a pair of RBIs against Rockdale.
The Eagles head to Austin for the Austin Tournament beginning on Thursday. Ellison plays Austin Lake Travis at 9:30 a.m.
After losing to Austin 13-0, the Bulldawgs beat Lorena, Waco University and Rockdale before forfeiting the tournament finale against Ellison.
“We had a rough first game against Austin, but after that we put together a solid next three games,” Cove head coach Dusty Brittain said. “We hit the ball really well in all three games. At times we pitched well and played defense well.”
Cove lost to Austin 13-0, beat Lorena 6-3, beat University 12-1 and topped Rockdale 15-12.
The quartet of Kyle Winstead, Derris Prater, Tim Bechtold and Michael Hays were the top Dawgs (6-3-1) over the weekend.
Winstead had two hits and two RBIs against Lorena; Bechtold had five hits against Lorena and Rockdale; and Prater had two hits, pitched seven innings and struck out two against Lorena and had a pair of RBIs against University. Hays had two hits and seven RBIs against University and Rockdale.
Cove plays at Waco University on Friday at 7 p.m.
AUSTIN BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
At Garrison Park (6001 Manchaca Rd.)
Ellison vs. Lake Travis, 9:30 a.m.
Harker Heights vs. Lake Travis, Noon
Killeen vs. Austin Crockett, 7:30 p.m.
At Nelson Field (7400 Berkman Dr.)
Shoemaker vs. Kerrville, 2:30 p.m.
At Northwest District Park (7000 Ardath St.)
Ellison vs. Corpus Christi Moody, 2:30 p.m.