The key to Killeen’s growth this season has been the focus on constantly improving.
The constant work paid off Tuesday afternoon as the Lady Roos earned their first win in District 12-6A with a 17-6 run-rule victory over Ellison (0-8).
“We hit the ball well yesterday,” said Killeen head coach Randy James. “And that carried over into today.”
As gray clouds loomed above the Lady Eagles’ Field, Killeen (1-6 12-6A) was determined to end the game before rain could cause a delay and opened the first inning with seven runs.
With a healthy lead, the Lady Roos held Ellison to just two runs in three complete innings and scored three runs in all but one inning.
Killeen centerfielder Imani Davis led the Lady Roos as she got on base in every inning, with a single, double and three walks. She scored five runs.
Avalyn James started in the circle for Killeen and struck out six in five innings.
“She did a great job,” James said. “She did what we ask all our pitchers to do — just be around the plate, and she was.”
Ellison struggled to catch up, but Bailey Bark got things going for the Lady Eagles with a base hit in the bottom of the second inning.
Once on base, Bark stole her way around the diamond as James threw three consecutive balls to walk Tiara Rodriguez.
In the top of the fourth, the Lady Roos added a run despite going hitless.
“Defensively, we played better,” said Ellison head coach Brian Cotton. “We only had three errors, but we need to find some way to limit the free bases — the walks and the hit batters — to be able to compete at a higher level.”
Ellison pitchers combined for 19 walks and hit batters.
Ellison’s bats warmed up in the bottom half of the fourth as the Lady Eagles fought to extend the game with a two-run triple from KD Trimble.
“Our bats got hot later in the game, but we need to come out that way,” Cotton said. “We just have to take that mindset of stepping into the box and knowing that if she throws me a strike, I’m trying to knock the cover off of it.”
With Ellison trailing 14-3, Andrea Lopez brought Trimble home with a base hit to left field.
Amaja Fields scored Lopez with a ball hit toward second base to cut the deficit to 14-5.
“After they got off to the big lead, we just kept talking about chipping away at it,” Cotton said. “We got it down, we just couldn’t maintain it.
“But I think as we progress and get mentally tougher, we’ll start to see the improvement that comes with that.”
Killeen added three more runs in the top of the fifth to bring the 10-run mercy rule back into play, and the game ended when Ellison could only produce one run in the bottom of the inning.
“Some late runs came in,” James said. “But there were no concerns. We just told them play catch.
“You play some catch, you can win some ball games and be competitive.”
District 12-6A teams are off until next Tuesday. The Lady Roos head to Waco (1-6) while the Lady Eagles take their first bye. Ellison begins the second half of district play March 22 at Waco.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 12, Waco 2, 5 innings
- Killeen 17, Ellison 6, 5 innings
- Shoemaker 5, Copperas Cove 2
- Waco Midway 6, Temple 1