WACO — Copperas Cove lost focus three times, and it proved to be the difference.
In their first playoff game since 2008, the Lady Bulldawgs committed a total of three errors and each one led to a score as No. 20 Mansfield Timberview won the opening game of the Class 5A bi-district playoff series 5-4 at Waco ISD Sports Complex on Friday evening.
Outside of the errors, including a seventh-inning gaffe that gave the Lady Wolves their first lead of the game at 5-3, Copperas Cove delivered a sound showing.
The Lady Bulldawgs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, when Ashley Hartwell hit a standup double, scoring teammates Elliana Doubleday and Sydney Andrews.
Copperas Cove’s lead held until the top of the third inning. After Hartwell struck out leadoff batter Mayriah Brown, Ashley Thorp hit for a single before stealing second base during the ensuing at-bat. Moments later, Thorp attempted to steal third base, but ended up scoring when the ball slipped into the outfield on the attempt to gun down Thorp.
Mariah Denison tied the game 2-2 during the next at-bat, when another throw missed its mark, but the Lady Bulldawgs avoided any further self-inflicted damage in the inning.
In the fifth inning, Copperas Cove (18-16) reclaimed a slim 3-2 lead as pinch runner Angel Mullen scored from third base on a wild pitch.
Like before, however, the Lady Wolves had an answer.
Brittany Ponder narrowly avoided being thrown out from left field when she rounded second off a deep shot, but was called safe after sliding in under the tag. Two batters later, Maddie Munoz hit an RBI single to score Ponder and tie the score once again.
The Lady Bulldawgs were unable to get in scoring position in the sixth inning, and Timberview (22-4-1) claimed its first lead of the game in the top of the seventh inning. Mayriah Brown hit a leadoff single and scored from second base thanks to Alex Taylor’s RBI double. Taylor would then score from second base on another throwing error, and the Lady Wolves took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Copperas Cove trimmed the deficit to a run on Mullen’s second score of the game, but with Doubleday on third base with a pair of outs, a routine pop fly cut the Lady Bulldawgs’ rally just short.
The Lady Bulldawgs finished the game with only two hits, but took advantage of Timberview’s sporadic pitching performance. As for Copperas Cove, Harwell threw a complete game, striking out five of the 31 batters she faced.
The best-of-three series continues Saturday at noon with Game 3, if necessary, following the conclusion of Game 2.
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com