By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Coach Jim Lowery made plenty of changes for his Copperas Cove softball team's Tuesday game with A&M Consolidated.
Looking to not only keep their playoff hopes alive but take advantage of their athleticism as well, the Lady Bulldawgs went out with players in different positions and a retooled batting order.
It didn't work, though Lady Tiger pitcher Sarah Halliwell had a lot to do with that.
Halliwell tossed a one-hitter while the Consolidated offense scored seven runs in its final two at bats for the 10-0 road win in six innings.
A&M Consolidated (24-4) clinched the second District 12-5A playoff spot with the win, improving its second-place record in district to 9-2 with three games to play. The victory was also head coach Billy Hick's 449th on his career.
"We want to focus on the second season," Hicks said of the postseason. "We're trying to do what we can. Right now, our focus is try to go as far as we can in the playoffs, so we want to tune up and try to come out and play our best."
Cove (16-13) fell to 5-6 and remained in fifth place right behind Temple (6-5). The two meet Friday in Temple.
"That makes Friday our season," Lowery said. "If we beat Temple, it comes down to who does it that next week."
Shaba Brown, Cove's all-district shortstop played left field, while Savannah Seybold, Cove's regular catcher, played center. Seybold has started in center field before to utilize her speed, as Paige Thornhill started behind the plate, Ashley Hartwell played shortstop and Victoria Starns took Hartwell's normal spot at second base.
In the lineup, Seybold moved up to second in the order, while Justine Hartwell went from second to fifth. It was another move, Lowery said, to take advantage of Cove's speed and spreading it out through the lineup instead of bunched at the top.
"What we did is we wanted to shake everything up," Lowery said. "I've never been as nervous about a game because I knew, with what I was doing, I was either going to look like a genius or total moron."
A&M Consolidated got on the board in the second inning, as Dayton Kunz singled, stole second base, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an Alyssa Gregg single.
The Lady Tigers added two more runs in the third inning before stretching the lead out in the fifth. A&M Consolidated scored three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth, two coming off a Sarah Allison two-run homer.
Halliwell did the rest, striking out nine and not allowing a Cove baserunner to reach third base. The Lady Dawgs' lone hit was a Brown first-inning single, but she was left stranded at second base as one of three Cove runners left at second.
"She had a little bit more pop than I've seen in a while," Hicks said of Halliwell. "She has a great curveball and when she able to control where it goes and able to get it on the corners, she's very, very effective."
Contact Angel Verdejo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564.