Shelly Hayes is not happy, but she is happier.
After leaving 11 runners stranded in 5-2 home loss to Belton on Tuesday, Copperas Cove rallied from a three-run deficit to earn a 7-4 victory at Ellison on Friday. Despite collecting a vital win that, barring a complete collapse, should secure the Lady Bulldawgs’ first playoff berth in four seasons.
But Cove’s head coach was not pleased with her team’s performance.
“It was ugly,” Hayes said. “I don’t think the girls were focused. I tried to tell them how important this game is and that (the Lady Eagles) have nothing to lose, and they played like it. ... We did enough to win the game, but I’m still not real pleased with it.”
Combined with Harker Heights’ 17-0 loss to Temple, the Lady Bulldawgs take a two-game lead over the Lady Knights for fourth place in District 8-5A with two games remaining. For a while, however, it appeared as if Ellison might pull off the upset.
The first three Lady Eagles batters reached base in the first inning, and eventually scored. Felicia Camargo connected on a two-RBI single to score Dusti Douglas and Bryanna Sanchez before Kennedy Connell’s single sent Camargo home from second base, and Ellison carried a 3-0 lead into the second inning.
Copperas Cove (17-14, 7-5) failed to get a hit in the first two innings, but delivered three in the third, including Ashley Hartwell’s double and Brianna Sinclair’s two-RBI single to tie the game 3-3. Ellison quickly reclaimed control, though, as Camargo, who reached base on a fielding error, scored from third base on Hartwell’s wild pitch.
It proved to be one of the only mistakes Hartwell made.
The senior entered the game in the second inning to replace Copperas Cove starting pitcher Carlee Duran and did not give up a hit in her first four innings of work, while her teammates stepped up offensively.
After falling behind 4-3, the Lady Dawgs scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, including two off freshman catcher Sydney Andrews’ two-RBI double to give Copperas Cove its first lead of the night at 5-4.
“Sydney has been clutch all year,” Hayes said. “She plays like a senior, and she is focused every single game.”
Andrews then scored from third base off an error and the Lady Dawgs held a 6-4 lead entering the fifth inning, where they provided the game’s final run off another Ellison error as Tayler Hammack scored from second on a bad throw.
The Lady Eagles (5-22, 3-9) finished with three errors.
“We squandered some opportunities and didn’t finish or capitalize on some things that we had, but it was refreshing to actually see us involved in a game and hitting,” Ellison coach Rebecca Daley said.
Hartwell, who struck out four batters en route to the victory, kept Ellison’s bat in control through the fifth inning, but Camargo hit for a single and Alexis Watson hit a double in the sixth inning, but left both runners stranded in scoring position.
“Some mental errors did not allow us to capitalize on the things that we needed to with the sticks,” Daley said.