HARKER HEIGHTS — A strong first inning propelled the Lady Dawgs to victory in a must-win battle Friday night.
Copperas Cove was aggressive from the start as each member of the starting lineup came home in the nine-run opening inning. Seven of the runs were unearned.
Despite the grim start at home, the Lady Knights battled back and scored in all but three innings.
Ja’Lynn Swiney led the comeback for Heights with a two-run home run in the first inning and a triple in the fourth that brought home another run to pull the Lady Knights within three.
Lady Knights junior Kaycee McDowell added a solo home run in the second inning, but it was a better defensive effort that helped Heights close the gap.
The Lady Bulldawgs scored once in the third inning to remain ahead of the Lady Knights by three.
In the bottom of the fifth, a double steal by Lindsey Ratcliffe and Mady Garrison pulled Heights within two, 10-8. Garrison scored from third while Ratcliffe swiped second.
In the sixth, Madalyn Scribner sent a rocket over the left-center field wall for a home run that put Cove ahead by three once more, 11-8.
An RBI single brought home Swiney, but the Lady Knights (6-9 12-6A) fell short in the bottom of the seventh and were eliminated from the playoff race.
The Lady Bulldawgs (7-7) moved within a game of Shoemaker (8-6) for the final 12-6A playoff spot with two games remaining for both teams. Shoemaker lost 7-0 at home against Midway, and third-place Temple clinched a playoff berth with a 10-4 victory against Waco.
Cove hosts Shoemaker on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Lady Knights have their final bye Tuesday and close out the season at Shoemaker on Thursday.
FRIDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 19, Ellison 2, 4 innings
- Copperas Cove 11, Harker Heights 9
- Temple 10, Waco 4
- Waco Midway 7, Shoemaker 0