COPPERAS COVE — Coming into Thursday night’s game, Copperas Cove had the opportunity to move two games ahead of idle Temple for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs with a win. There was just one thing standing in their way, the team tied for the best record in District 12-6A.
Cove pitcher Josh Ropple responded to the challenge, throwing a masterful game and beating the Tigers 8-1.
Belton (12-1 12-6A) was limited to just four hits.
Despite high winds and cloudy skies for most of the day, the sun came out with plenty of time to spare for the showdown between the two teams.
Coming off an impressive 10-2 victory at Temple on Tuesday, Cove (9-5 12-6A) was hoping that momentum would help them knock off the Tigers.
Cove jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a Belton fielding error, allowing center fielder Travis Goudeau to score after he reached on a double.
Belton answered in the top of the second as designated hitter Logan Riggins (2 for 3) led off with a double and scored on a double by first baseman Zach Alexander.
The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth, when Cove opened the floodgates. Multiple fielding errors and heads-up base running led to three runs for the Bulldawgs and a 4-1 lead.
Cove added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Goudeau led off with a walk and scored from first when second baseman Jost followed with a triple. Jost scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Nick Izqueirdo.
Cove capped the scoring with two runs in the sixth.
Only three of the runs Cove plated against Belton starter Dylan Blomquist (4 2/3 innings) and reliever Jace Stephen (1 1/3 IP) were earned. Blomquist allowed seven hits and two walks. He fanned five. Stephen gave up two hits and a walk.
Belton won the first meeting between the teams 3-2 in Belton on March 19.
With two nights remaining in the 12-6A season, the Bulldawgs can clinch a playoff berth with another victory or Temple loss. The Dawgs travel to Killeen on Tuesday. Temple hosts Harker Heights.
Belton hosts Belton on Tuesday.
THURSDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Copperas Cove 8, Belton 1
- Ellison 20, Killeen 0, 4½ innings
- Waco 10, Shoemaker 6
- Waco Midway 7, Harker Heights 0
x-Waco Midway 13 1 .929 —
x-Belton 12 2 .857 1
x-Ellison 10 4 .714 3
Copperas Cove 9 5 .643 4
Temple 7 7 .500 6
Harker Heights 6 8 .429 7
Waco 4 11 .267 9½
Killeen 3 11 .214 10
Shoemaker 0 15 .000 13½
x-clinched playoff spot