HARKER HEIGHTS — In an early-season tilt between two solid area teams at the KISD Tournament on Friday afternoon, Killeen and Class 4A No. 10 Salado had a nip-and- tuck battle for the entirety of their 1-hour, 15-minute pool-play game.

The contest went four innings, and the Lady Eagles emerged with a 4-2 victory.

Salado head coach Kory Craddick was proud of his young team’s performance, a squad comprised this season of five freshmen.

“It was really good to see them scratch and get runs across the plate,” Craddick said. “We are a much different team than we’ve been in the past. We’ve got a lot of younger girls, and it’s fun to see them over there in the dugout really coming together and working with each other and talking with each other on the basepaths.

“Killeen has a very good little pitcher (Destiny Allen), and I felt our girls stepped up there and put some balls in play. It was really good to see our young kids do some of those things.”

Killeen head coach Randy James said Allen did a nice job of battling Friday after returning from illness.

“She’s been sick, and it’s her first day back since Wednesday night,” James said. “I just wanted to get her some work. McKenzie (Kudla) has been doing a great job throwing the ball, but we needed to get her a little rest time before things get going.”

Salado got on the board in the top of the first inning, as leadoff hitter Piper Randolph singled to center field, advanced to second base on a wild pitch and was driven home on a sharp single to left by Breigh Oliver for a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Kangaroos responded in the bottom half of the frame. Leadoff hitter Tanjala Smith reached on an infield single, stole second and third, and then scored on a groundout by Hailey Pitts to tie the game at 1-1.

Regina Deen led of the top of the second for the Lady Eagles by smashing a pitch off the right-field wall for a triple. Allen got the next two hitters on a popout to shortstop and a strikeout, but Randolph slapped a two-out single to center to drive Deen home and put Salado up 2-1.

Randolph finished the contest 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and two runs scored to accompany her second-inning RBI.

Lady Eagles pitcher Bailey Tindell held the Lady Kangaroos scoreless in the bottom of the second, and Salado added another run in the third for a 3-1 advantage on a single to left field by Abbie James, driving home Rebecca Dockray from third.

Killeen replied in the bottom half, as Smith smashed a one-out double to center and eventually scored on an infield error off the bat of Avalyn James to pull the Lady Kangaroos within 3-2.

Smith ended the game 2-for-2 to accompany her double and two runs scored.

The Lady Eagles put the final notch on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth on a single to center by Oliver, which drove home Randolph after she reached on a two-out double.

Salado was 3-1 and Killeen was 2-2 in pool play at the conclusion of their time-shortened game Friday.

James was impressed with the turnout of softball teams in the weekend’s tournament, adding the pool the Lady Kangaroos and Lady Eagles were in, Pool 2, was highly competitive.

“We’ve done a great job putting this thing together this year,” James said. “Hopefully, we can keep growing it. We had 12 teams last year and we’re up to 24 this year, and it’s good ball.”

Craddick agreed.

“This tournament, it’s real nice to have all these area teams come in,” he said. “It’s 15 minutes from our home, it’s a great little complex over here in Harker Heights, and it’s nice to come over here and play some good competition and see some different looks from teams. Get out here, work with each other and have some fun at it, too.”

TODAY’S GAMES

GOLD BRACKET (Noon)

  • Florence vs. Midway JV
  • Waco Connally vs. Taylor
  • Harker Heights vs. Salado
  • Waco University vs. China Spring

SILVER BRACKET (10:30 a.m.)

  • Killeen vs. Burnet
  • GatesvillE vs. RR McNeil
  • Shoemaker vs. Ellison
  • Gateway vs. Bastrop

BRONZE BRACKET ( 9 a.m.)

  • McCallum vs. Ellison JV
  • Waco La Vega vs. Waco High
  • Pflugerville vs. Heights JV
  • Palestine vs. Leander Glenn

All games at Harker Heights Community Park

FRIDAY'S POOL PLAY

  • Burnet 10, Harker Hts JV 3
  • Salado 17, Ellison JV 0
  • Midway JV 4, Leander Glenn 0
  • Waco University 8, Taylor 2
  • Waco Connally 7, Ellison 3
  • Killeen 6, China Spring 3
  • Harker Heights 4, Gatesville 0
  • Shoemaker 5, Waco La Vega 1
  • RR McNeil 5, Harker Hts JV 3
  • Austin McCallum 12, Ellison JV 0
  • Waco Midway JV 2, Waco 0
  • Waco University 15, Palestine 0
  • Florence 7, Waco Connally 6
  • China Spring 2, Bastrop 1
  • Gatesville 3, Georgetown Gateway 3
  • Pfl. Connally 5, Waco La Vega 1
  • Salado 4, Killeen 2
  • Ellison 10, Burnet 4
  • Killeen 7, Salado 4
  • Harker Heights 9, Leander Glenn 2
  • Taylor 8, Shoemaker 3
  • Waco Connally 14, Harker Heights JV 10
  • Austin McCallum 10, Ellison JV 2
  • Waco Midway JV 6, Gatesville 2
  • Waco University 11, Waco La Vega 0
  • Burnet 4, Round Rock McNeil 3
  • Salado 2, Austin McCallum 0
  • Leander Glenn 7, Waco 1
  • Taylor 12, Palestine 3
  • Florence 9, Ellison 3
  • Killeen 2, Bastrop 0
  • Harker Heights 15, Georgetown Gateway 0
  • Shoemaker 5, Pflugerville Connally 5, tie

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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