Ellison improved to 5-4 in District 8-6A play with a 6-2 comeback victory at home Tuesday night over Killeen.
It was a battle of the No. 27’s on the mound. Jake Escalante started for Killeen against Ellison’s Edward Eakin.
“We’ve kind of slowly working him in,” Kangaroos coach Donald Trcka said of Escalante. “This was really his first start that he’s had.”
Killeen took an early lead in the top of the first when Julian Jasmin hit a sacrifice that brought home Tavion Grant and put the Roos up 1-0.
The Roos got in scoring position with steals twice in the top of the second inning, and it was an RBI single from third baseman Bo Buckley that brought home shortstop Alnaldo Lanzo to put Killeen ahead 2-0.
“(Give) credit to Killeen those first few innings,” Eagles coach Ty Oppermann said. “They were putting us in situations, getting bunts down and taking advantage of a couple of mistakes we made.
“They played good baseball.”
A sacrifice fly to right field by Julian Jimenez allowed Elias Rodriguez to score the Eagles’ first run and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Preston Mills started the fourth inning for Ellison with a deep shot into center field for a triple, with Carlos Felix on deck.
Escalante threw a ball low and in the dirt that allowed Mills to score the tying run.
The Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Rodriguez.
That was just the start as a two-run home run by Eakin gave Ellison a 5-2 lead.
“Back-to-back deep center field hits — that tells me they’re staying right through the ball. Great swing when you’re driving the ball deep to center,” Oppermann said.
An error allowed the Eagles to bring in another run and take a 6-2 lead before Trcka made a pitching change.
“He looked good,” Trcka said of Escalante. “About the fifth he got a little tired.
“But he was keeping the ball above the plate, keeping us in the game so we kept with him.”
Killeen had two runners on in the top of the sixth and in scoring position but couldn’t produce a run.
“I think overall we played well,” Trcka said. “We just need to hit the ball with runners in scoring position.”
Oppermann thought his team just needed an energy boost to get the bats going.
“I think the kids did a great adjustment of making adjustments as the game went on,” he said.
“We were just kind of flat coming out, but part of that was (Killeen’s) kids coming out and doing a great job at what they were doing.”
With the win, the Eagles moved into a tie for third place with Copperas Cove and San Angelo Central with five league games remaining.
“It’s a tight district and there’s a lot of really good teams,” Oppermann said.
Ellison and Killeen meet again Friday at Killeen.
“We’ve got to know the importance of Friday,” Oppermann said. "We have to win Friday before we can go into next week’s series.”
“So it’s one game at a time right now.”