By Evan Mohl
Killeen Daily Herald
The Texas Teen-Age Baseball Senior Midget District Tournament has not been easy for the Copperas Cove Astros.
But coach Bret Anderson will take it.
The Astros won their second game in as many days by overcoming an 11-run, second-inning deficit to the Harker Heights Express. Brandon Williams blasted two home runs, including the game-tying round-tripper in the seventh inning, and Matt Malone came scampering home on a wild pitch to lead the Astros past the Express, 12-11, in eight innings.
It was the second two-hour, heart-wrenching game for the Cove. League play contests normally last a little more than an hour.
"I don't know how they did it," Anderson said. "It was all heart. There was some crying in the dugout and heads down, but all of the sudden, they pulled it together. It was great."
Williams' solo shot to center in the seventh came just after the Express thwarted an Astros rally by throwing out two base stealers at third base. Williams, who also had a triple, smashed the ball to the center field fence before racing all the way around to home.
"That was the play of the game," Anderson said.
Bryce Anderson, the coach's son, performed yeoman's work on the mound. He quelled Heights' explosive offense by pitching six innings of shutout ball.
Anderson struck out 17 batters and allowed just three base runners.
"It wasn't looking pretty," Anderson said. "So we were just trying to pull through. I just threw the ball over the plate as hard as I could trying to get outs."
Anderson also struck out the side in the top of the eighth, allowing the Astros to get the winning run home. Malone led off with a walk and advanced to third on two more base on balls. He then dashed for home on a wild pitch as soon as it hit the dirt to complete the comeback of 12 unanswered runs.
"Everybody was jumping around," Anderson said. "It was crazy. We were so excited. It was awesome."
The winner of the district tournament advances to state. Teams from all the way down the U.S. Highway 190 corridor – Killeen, Cove, Harker Heights, Temple and Belton – are participating in the week's double-elimination tournament. The championship game is slated for 6 p.m. Friday at Lions Club Park.
The Astros will face the Harker Heights Sidewinders in the quarterfinals today at 6 p.m.
The Cove Yankees are out of the tournament while the Cove Rangers, Killeen Mariners and Killeen Dodgers all lost one game.
The 12-under tournament is also taking place this week. The Killeen Pirates advanced to the semifinals with an 11-2 victory over the Belton Mariners.
Killeen plays at 6 p.m. today at Lions Club Park with the championship game scheduled for Thursday night at 6.
"This is the first time we have been able to host two district tournaments at the same time," said Emund Prichett, athletic superintendent for Killeen Parks and Recreation. "It's exciting for us."
Contact Evan Mohl at email@example.com or (254) 501-7564.