Copperas Cove versus Ellison

Copperas Cove’s Josh Ropple pitches against Ellison on Tuesday in Copperas Cove.

COPPERAS COVE — The Bulldawgs opened District 12-6A 3-0 before dropping consecutive games against Temple and Belton on Thursday and Friday, but Bob Macy isn’t worried.

Macy is in his first season at the helm of Dawgs baseball. He made the move from Ennis to Copperas Cove after former coach Dusty Brittain announced after five years that he would be departing for the same position at Seguin.

In his three seasons with Ennis, Macy ended each with playoff berths and winning seasons, including a district championship. The Lions won District 14-5A in 2016 with a 16-3 record and went 24-9 overall.

In 2017, Ennis went 18-14 and was 19-11 last season, both times finishing in third place with a 6-4 district record.

“Coaching-wise, these are the type of kids you want to inherit — guys who know how to play,” Macy said of taking over the Bulldawgs. “Dusty did a great job with them here.”

Brittain took over the program in 2013 on the heels of a combined 10-32 district showing during the previous three seasons. In that time, the Bulldawgs twice collected just two district victories.

Copperas Cove narrowly missed the playoffs in Brittain’s first year, but the team advanced to the playoffs every year since with the exception of 2017, when Belton won a play-in game to capture the district final berth.

Last year, the Bulldawgs placed second in the District 8-6A standings and finished with an overall record of 25-6-2.

“He obviously did a great job,” Macy said of Brittain. “And I inherited a group of seniors who want to play and that’s a blessing.”

At the core of that group are seniors Jacob Wagner, Nick Izquierdo, Colby Jost, Michael Goudeau, Justin Velesky and Josh Ropple.

While some teams endure a transition period while players adjust to a new coach’s system, that hasn’t been the case for Copperas Cove.

“I’m an old-school guy,” admitted Macy. “I’m very demanding, and they figured that out real quick.”

The Dawgs’ also credit their hot start to the team chemistry.

“I think all of us being so close for so long that we’re able to stick together,” said first baseman Matthew Santiago. “Even with a new coach, we get the wins.”

At the end of spring break, Copperas Cove has a district record of 3-2 and is 9-9-1 overall.

The Bulldawgs are fourth in the 12-6A standings behind Belton (5-0), Waco Midway (4-1) and Ellison (4-1).

Happy with where they are at this point, the Dawgs aren’t where they want to be.

“I know this is going to happen,” Macy siad as he thought ahead to what he hopes to see from his team. “They’re just going to get better, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Macy knows that he’s walked into one of the most competitive districts in Central Texas. There are nine teams, and almost all of them are competitive.

“I think everybody is kind of chasing Midway,” he said. “But I think it’s a pretty even district.

“I think anybody can beat anybody on a Tuesday or Friday, and I’m not taking anybody lightly, and I know these guys aren’t either.”

The Bulldawgs resume district play Tuesday at 12-6A leader Belton. | 254-501-7562

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