After the first day of the Killeen Independent School District baseball tournament, all four area school coaches are looking forward to getting their teams as many games as possible.
The unpredictable weather has caused other tournaments in the area to be canceled, with wet conditions also forcing a two-hour delay for Thursday’s games.
“A game may be delayed two hours but you still have to stay focused for when it starts,” Heights head coach Randy Culp said. “I think it’s good early when things like this happen because it teaches your team how to deal with that kind of adversity.
“And the teams that can deal with adversity are the teams that are going to win.”
Every team in Killeen ISD has had to navigate playing around the rain.
“It’s been a struggle; the kids are ready to play,” Killeen head coach Donald Trecka said. “There’s only so much we can do in the cages when it’s wet on the field.
“We’re just trying to keep them positive and working hard.”
Games are being played at Killeen, Harker Heights and Ellison fields.
Killeen kicked off tournament play in the afternoon with a game against Waco High. After the Lions took a 5-0 lead through four innings, the Kangaroos scored 12 runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Waco couldn’t come back as Killeen finished off the 12-5 victory.
The Roos will face Waco University at 12:30 p.m. today before playing The Colony at 3 p.m. at Killeen High.
“Tonight, I used everybody in the lineup, so everybody came out and did what they’re supposed to do,” Trecka said. “In that fifth inning, the kids stepped up, did a really good job and executed what we had to do.
“It was an all-around effort and they all played well.”
The junior-heavy Ellison team fell 4-1 to Pflugerville Hendrickson. After being rained out of their previous tournament, the Eagles are looking forward to the opportunity to play multiple games and get in some repetitions.
“Steady improvement, little things each time,” Ellison head coach Ty Oppermann said of what he hopes to see his team accomplish throughout the tournament. “Take whatever mistakes we made and improve upon it, and stay consistent with the things we’re doing well.”
Ellison will start the second day of play at 12:30 p.m. facing Jarrell before taking on San Antonio Holmes at 3 p.m. at home.
Harker Heights hosted Waco University and came back from being down by one with a walk-off 2-1 victory on a double down the line.
Comeback victories are becoming a common theme for the Knights.
“We were able to come from behind twice and win at the last at-bat so that kind of stuff is awesome because it’s a springboard for your team,” Culp said.
“They build a lot of confidence with that.”
After facing San Antonio Holmes on Thursday night, the Knights won’t play until 3 p.m. against Waco. The then host Jarrell at home at 5:30 p.m.
Shoemaker had an early 5-4 victory over Jarrell after being down 2-0 before getting ahead and holding the Cougars off in the seventh.
“I’d like to see us continue hitting the ball and having those balls drop,” head coach Robert Conley said of his team getting hits that seem to go straight to people instead of falling, “but they’ve been very good at making solid contact.”
The Grey Wolves will close out the second day of tournament play with one game against San Antonio Holmes at Ellison at 5:30 p.m.
Shoemaker will face The Colony on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Killeen, followed by Killeen facing Jarrell at 12:30 p.m. Ellison has a doubleheader against Waco University and Waco starting at 10 a.m. Heights will end the tournament facing Hendrickson at 12:30 p.m. at home.
“There’s some really good teams in this tournament,” Conley said. “There’s no one in this tournament that you would look at and say they won’t be competitive.
“It’s just like our district. Each inning is a battle, every game is a battle.”
KILLEEN ISD TOURNAMENT
At Harker Heights HS
- Harker Heights 2, Waco University 1, 8 inn.
- Harker Heights 7, San Antonio Holmes 3
At Ellison HS
- Pflugerville Hendrickson 4, Ellison 1
at Killeen HS
- Killeen 12, Waco 5
- Shoemaker 5, Jarrell 4