The Ellison Eagles ended the KISD Classic in the win column.
But it was a bumpy road to the finish.
Ellison closed out the three-day competition with a 13-7 victory over Troy at home Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles agreed to play two additional games than the rest of the participating schools in order to guarantee four games for per team.
“The big thing with us is getting as many at-bats as we can and as many pitchers on the mound getting experience,” Ellison head coach Ty Oppermann said. “Seeing as much situational baseball as we can.
“And at tournaments, that’s where you get your experience.”
After starting the final day of the tournament with a 20-5 loss to Saginaw Boswell, the Eagles were looking to bounce back.
Edward Eakin got things going for the Eagles in the first inning with an RBI double before Troy added a run of its own in the bottom half.
Ellison added a run in each of the second and third innings, but in the bottom of the third the Trojans had an RBI single from Kyle Tores.
The Eagles slowly pulled ahead, adding a run in their next two at-bats and led 5-3 at the end of four innings.
Ellison put up eight runs in the fifth inning including RBIs from Alexander Oquendo Aponte, Elias Rodriguez, Preston Mills, Joseph Marin and Carlos Felix.
Felix started on the mound for the Eagles and threw all five innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs while striking out three.
“We’re just trying to keep the momentum of our swings,” Oppermann said. “Right now, we’re hitting the ball really well, top to bottom of the order.
“Even when we’re getting out, we’re hitting the ball hard at people — we’ve had more line-drive outs to outfielders than I’ve had ever and it’s just that confidence at the plate where they’re thinking they can hit anything you throw.”
The Eagles are 2-0 in District 12-6A and have a bye this week before heading to the Central Texas Invitational next weekend.
Ellison resumes district play at Copperas Cove on March 12.
Harker Heights’ head coach Randy Culp knew his team needed to come out and bounce back from a tough Friday night 8-6 loss to Waco University.
The Knights did just that as they ended the tournament with a 6-1 win over Jarrell on Saturday afternoon.
Heights has a solid group of returning players, but the tournament allowed Culp to work in some of the new faces on his team.
“We have 11 seniors and eight returning varsity members,” Culp noted. “But some of those were nonstarters from last year but eight lettermen.
“We’ve also got some young ones. We have a couple sophomores and two freshmen that are up with us right now, so just plugging them into the formula.”
The Knights went 1-2-1 on the weekend. Harker Heights has a district record of 1-1 and hosts Copperas Cove (1-0) Tuesday at Knights Field.
The Knights will play in the Manor tournament next weekend.
Killeen had a rough Saturday morning as the Roos ended the KISD Classic 1-3 after falling 11-5 to Waco University.
The Roos started off strong on defense as the Trojans left two runners stranded in the top of the first inning.
Killeen failed to score in its first at-bat and quickly fell behind 3-0 in the top of the next inning.
Looking to get on the board, Roos starting pitcher Carlos Roman led off in the next at-bat with a grounder up the middle for a base hit.
Brandon Fox subbed in as courtesy runner for Roman. Roos senior Jackson Taylor tapped a sacrifice bunt that allowed Fox to safely advance to second.
With a runner in scoring position, Steven Grinde was next up at the plate and chopped a ball toward shortstop.
University shortstop David Gonzales made the throw for the out at first and while the Trojans tried to turn the double play to throw Fox out at third, the Killeen junior slid safely to the base to beat out the tag.
Trojans head coach Kyle Chapman challenged the call, but after the umpires discussed the play, the call stood.
Mark Jimenez stepped up to bat as Fox remained at third, itching to come home. On the second throw, a wild pitch got away from University catcher Jacob Bryant.
Fox took the opportunity to dart home to score the run to put Killeen on the board trailing 3-1 at the end of the of the second inning.
Although the Trojans scored another run in their next at-bat, the Roos answered in the bottom of the third.
Leadoff batter, Djuan Grant drew a walk. Tavion Grant tried to follow suit before popping one into left field for an out.
Alnaldo Lonzo sent a ball down the right-field line that dropped in fair territory for a base hit.
With runners on the corners University walked Jose Ayala to load the bases with just one out and Roman back up to bat.
The Killeen starting pitcher swung at the first pitch for a two-run single, and an error by Gonzales on the throw to first allowed Lonzo to safely take third while Roman slid safely into second.
Next up, Taylor sent a low fly ball into the gap in left-center field for a single that brought home both Lonzo and Roman as the Roos took a 5-4 lead.
Trojans pitcher J.D. Aguilar then struck out Grinde and Jimenez to end the inning.
University tied the game in the first half of the fourth inning and the score remained 5-5.
The Trojans knocked in two runs with no outs in the top of the fifth before Killeen head coach Donald Trcka put Fox on the mound.
With the bases loaded, Killeen’s defense was able to pick off a runner at second, and while the Roos tried to turn a double play, an error allowed the final Trojan run to score.
The Roos couldn’t catch up before time expired.
Killeen is currently 0-2 in district and faces Belton (2-0) at home on Tuesday before heading to the Princeton ISD tournament next weekend.
The Grey Wolves fell 13-3 against Boswell at Ellison.
Shoemaker held the Pioneers to just three runs in the first two innings.
Boswell errors allowed the Grey Wolves to bring in two runs to trail 8-3.
The Pioneers added five runs in the fourth inning.
Shoemaker (0-2 12-6A) heads to Waco Midway (1-0) on Tuesday before returning home March 12 to face Temple.