LAMPASAS — Things do not always go as planned.

In the final game of its home tournament, Lampasas struggled early, giving up two runs on three hits and committing an error against Killeen in the top of the first inning.

But the Badgers immediately responded.

Lampasas recorded five runs in the bottom of the inning and never eased up, cruising to a 9-2 victory, and while the slow start was not ideal, first-year head coach Shane Doege feels the reaction reflects his new team’s character.

“One thing I’ve noticed about these guys so far is they’re resilient,” Doege said, “and that’s what it takes, because sometimes an inning isn’t your best, but you’ve got to learn to overcome it.

“That’s just the nature of baseball, and it’s what I love about the sport: It teaches you to compete when your back is against the wall.”

Five Badgers scored in the win as the team amassed 11 hits, and defensively, Lampasas (10-4) did not commit an error and only allowed one runner past first base following the first inning.

While Doege believes the showing displayed something about Lampasas, pitcher Harrison Gillespie, who threw three strikeouts, feels the first-inning outburst proved a point to the Kangaroos.

“That showed them that we weren’t going to let them have the game,” the senior said. “Some people might not want to come out and play baseball on a Saturday morning, but we did, and I liked how we played.”

Following the day’s opener, repeated rain delays forced the cancellation of the remainder of the games as Jarrell led Florence 9-2 in the bottom of the third inning.

The Buffaloes lost their three other games by a combined score of 33-13, while the Kangaroos finished with a 2-2 tournament record and did not get to play their final contest against Brownwood, which entered the day with the five-team field’s only unblemished showing at 3-0.

Killeen catcher Josh Barnett, who was responsible for two of his team’s six hits, opened the loss to Lampasas with a leadoff single, and two batters later, teammate Jullian Jasmin’s RBI double sent his across home plate. Moments later, a fielding error on Mario Gonzalez’s shot to left field increased the Kangaroos’ advantage to 2-0 as Jasmin scored.

The lead was short-lived, though.

After loading the bases, Killeen walked three runners home and allowed a score on a wild pitch, giving Lampasas a 4-2 lead before Gillespie’s sacrifice fly scored shortstop Levi Geagley.

Then, in the second inning, Badgers first baseman Garrett Witcher sent a pitch over the left-field wall for a solo home run.

“On the final pitch,” Witcher said, “I was thinking, ‘Look away and stay short to the ball,’ and that’s what I did.

“I ended up hitting it out of the park, and it felt amazing.”

Lampasas added its final three runs in the sixth inning as Witcher and Braden Allen connected on consecutive RBI doubles to complete the game’s scoring.

Witcher was 2 for 2 and scored three runs, while teammates Hunter Gholson (2 runs, stolen base) and Santos Vega (2 runs, RBI, stolen base) also finished with two hits apiece.

The victory gives Lampasas a 4-1 showing in the tournament with its lone loss coming against Brownwood on Friday.

Like they did against Killeen, however, the Badgers bounced back from the 8-3 defeat to win their final two games by a combined score of 15-7, giving Doege confidence moving forward.

“In a playoff series,” he said, “you have to be able to bounce back from a loss. So, we have to be able to turn the page and get ready for the next game in case we have that opportunity to play in May.

“We’ve been focusing on that, and after that loss to Brownwood, I felt we played really good ball.”

FINAL STANDINGS

  • Brownwood 3-0
  • Lampasas 4-1
  • Killeen 2-2
  • Florence 0-3
  • Jarrell 0-3

SATURDAY’S SCORES

  • Lampasas 9, Killeen 2
  • Jarrell vs. Florence, ccd., rain
  • Brownwood vs. Killeen, ccd., rain
  • Brownwood vs. Jarrell, ccd., rain

FRIDAY’S SCORES

  • Brownwood 8, Lampasas 3
  • Lampasas 6, Florence 5
  • Brownwood 9, Jarrell 6
  • Killeen 15, Jarrell 3

THURSDAY’S SCORES

  • Lampasas 1, Jarrell 0
  • Lampasas 4, Killeen 1
  • Brownwood 16, Florence 5
  • Killeen 11, Florence 3

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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