COPPERAS COVE — Michael Goudeau wanted to change the mood.
After walking three of Killeen’s first four batters and committing an error, Copperas Cove appeared poised for a shaky performance in a game with significant playoff implications.
The Bulldawgs settled down, however, and escaped without allowing a run in the inning.
Then, Copperas Cove’s sophomore catcher stepped to plate with the intention of delivering an attitude adjustment.
“It was very important to respond to that start with a hit,” Goudeau said. “I needed to create a positive vibe for everyone, because after you get one hit, they will just keep coming.
“Things only get easier after that.”
He was correct.
Goudeau connected on a leadoff single, and moments later, he crossed home plate as teammate Josh Ropple was walked with the bases loaded as the Bulldawgs went on to win 4-0, snapping a two-game skid.
Following the victory, Copperas Cove head coach Dusty Brittain agreed it was critical to not let the early disappointment linger.
“We needed that from Goudeau,” he said. “That was huge to get a run, even if it was on a walk, because after that, everyone just started to feel more comfortable.”
The 1-0 advantage held until the fifth inning, when Bulldawgs first baseman Tyler Ingram hit a standup double to the left-field wall and teammate Jaylen Smith was intentionally walked. Two batters later, Cedric Camacho, a senior, scored both with a single.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Monquaverus Wingfield, who reached base with a single, scored on Goudeau’s sacrifice fly to inflate Copperas Cove’s cushion to 4-0.
Goudeau was 2 for 2 as the Bulldawgs (12-12, 5-6 District 8-6A) finished the game with seven hits.
After loading the bases to begin the game, the Kangaroos struggled to generate scoring opportunities with only two runners reaching second base during the next five innings.
With their backs against the wall, though, Killeen (8-16, 3-8) opened the top of the seventh with consecutive singles from Mario Gonzalez and Bo Buckley before Davante Garrett was walked to load the bases.
While the rally attempt was unsuccessful, Killeen head coach Donald Trcka believes it could benefit his team Friday, when the Kangaroos host the rematch.
“I hope that carries over and gives us some momentum,” he said. “We’re going to back to practice, hit a lot, and we’ll see if we can correct some of those problems we had.”
Copperas Cove pitcher Cameron Johnson was responsible for some of the Kangaroos’ offensive inefficiencies.
The junior struck out 11 batters and allowed just two hits through six innings.
The victory puts the Bulldawgs in a tie for fifth place in the district standings with three games remaining, while dropping Killeen two games behind Copperas Cove.
On the heels of being swept by Harker Heights last week, losing twice by a combined two runs, Brittain believes the victory was imperative.
“It was a little ugly at times,” he said, “but we’ve got to have wins at this point, and we’ll take them any we can get them.”