By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Call it foreshadowing or just a statement of fact. Copperas Cove softball coach Jim Lowery said Wednesday night that Shabanese Brown "has been crushing it all year."
Brown backed up her coach's comment with two home runs, including a second-inning grand slam, and seven RBIs in the Lady Dawgs' 17-3 win over Shoemaker on Thursday.
The senior shortstop, who hit the winning single Wednesday night, also scored after a fly ball was dropped and the subsequent throw to second was wild in the first inning.
"I guess I was just in the groove," Brown said. "I don't ever try to hit home runs but it just happens – making contact, being confident at the plate. It just went my way tonight."
The Lady Dawgs (12-8, 2-1 12-5A) scored 10 runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer by Brown, and had 10 hits less than 24 hours after beating Ellison 3-2.
"It was nice to see the bats come to life," Lowery said. "I don't know if we've ever been on that side of the one at a district game to where we score 17 runs in a ball game. What can you say? Shaba ... she makes coaching a little easier."
Shoemaker (6-12, 0-2) committed seven errors and walked seven batters.
Despite not getting their first hit until the third inning, the Lady Grey Wolves also left seven batters stranded in the first four innings.
They had the bases the loaded in the third, when the score was 6-0 and before the game really snowballed away from them.
"We're not taking advantage of opportunities we're creating, offensively and defensively," said Shoemaker coach Stacey Halim. "The snowball effect happens in defense just as well as it does in offense. An error leads to another error to another error."
Shoemaker picked up a couple of singles and a couple of runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 7-2.
Cove opened the sixth with the top of its lineup and loaded the bases with an Ashley Hartwell walk, a Justine Hartwell single and Brown reached after getting hit in the leg to start the effect.
Cove scored on a pair of errors and a pair of bases-loaded walks in addition to Brown's three-run homer run – her second at-bat in the inning – and a run-scoring single by Paige Thornhill.
Cove pitcher Katelynn Stephens struck out 10, walked seven and gave up five hits in her second-consecutive complete game win.
"We know we can hit. We're a good hitting team," Brown said.
"This is probably the best Cove team we've seen in a couple of years offensively and defensively, so we all came together and meshed."
Copperas Cove 6, Abilene 5 – Tyler Paulus' two-out single in the fifth inning drove in the tying and go-ahead runs as the Bulldawgs went on to beat Abilene on Thursday on the first day of the Brownwood Tournament.
Abilene scored four runs in the fourth inning to go up 4-3, but the Dawgs answered with three more in the fifth.
Ty Johnson picked up a win in relief, as he struck out three in three innings of work. Cody Brannon started for Cove and didn't allow a hit or run in three innings.
Cove faces Stephenville at 9 this morning and Liberty Hill at 4:30 p.m.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562. Follow him on Twitter at KDHsports.