By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
The Harker Heights Knights lanced the Killeen Kangaroos for five hits and five runs in the top of the first inning Tuesday night and rolled to a 9-1 win Tuesday night at Roo Field.
"We played really well," said Harker Heights assistant baseball coach Ty Opperman. "We did some aggressive base-running ... I thought they took advantage of a lot things that were given to us."
Killeen starting pitcher Jordan Ramos walked the Knights' leadoff batter Daniel Driver to open the first inning and then Driver stole second base before Korey Wacker lined out. David Kip and DeJuan Fulghum followed the out with singles to load the bases. Ramos walked Cody Dunn to first and Driver across homeplate for the game's first score.
Ryan Balentine and Todd Abold each hit singles to bring Kipp and Fulghum across the plate and then Jordan Carey followed with a two-run single before Ramos was able to strikeout the Knights' final batter in the order, Kenny Tackett, to get the Roos out of the inning.
"It's always a comfort-level," Opperman said. "We've got to get a little more of that killer-instinct. You don't want (a lead) to be enough to relax."
Abold took the top three Roos down in order and the Roos were back in the outfield.
"We've got to hit the ball," Killeen High head coach Mark Carranza said. "They executed, we didn't. We're not getting the big hits when we have people in scoring position."
The Roos picked up their first two hits in the bottom of the second but couldn't get either into scoring position before the inning ended.
Tackett scored for the Knights (5-1) in the top of the fourth inning on a Kipp sacrifice fly to put the Knights up 6-0 before Harker Height's three-run fifth inning.
Fulghum led-off the top of the frame with a single and Dunn hit an RBI double to left field to bring Fulghum across the plate for the second time. Balentine singled to bring Dunn home and Abold got his second RBI on a single that brought in Balentine to up the lead to 9-0.
The Roos got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Dunn, replacing Abold at the mound for the Knights, balked and advanced Levi Fuson from third base. Fuson walked to open the frame and Andre Crathers singled to advance him to second. Fuson stole third before the balk.
"I have no problem losing early (in the season)," Carranza said. "You've got to take your lumps early, but you've got to learn from it."
Ramos pitched five innings and took the loss for the Roos from the mound. He struck out four, walked four, hit one batter and gave up 10 hits. For the Knights, Abold struck out two batters and gave up two hits for the win.
Balentine led the Knights' batters. He was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Abold was 2-for-3 with the stick. He had two RBIs and a stolen base. Jordan was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Crathers led the Roos with a 2-for-3 night. Dustin Smith and Ramos were each 1-for-3.
The Roos return to the diamond Thursday in the Shoemaker tournament, and the Knights travel to Bastrop for a 2:30 p.m. tournament game against Dripping Springs.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.