By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
SALADO - With the district slate beginning next week, both Killeen's Mark Carranza and Salado's Chad Krempin wanted to find out whether their teams were ready.
Both found answers, even if one wasn't what he was looking for.
The Eagles jumped all over Roos starter Zach Blankenship, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and took advantage of several Killeen miscues for a 14-2, five-inning run-rule victory Saturday in the first game of a home doubleheader.
"We played well, got a lot of people involved and got some clutch hitting, so I was happy," said Krempin, in his first year with the Eagles.
Carranza, Killeen's veteran skipper, couldn't echo his counterpart's feelings, not after the Roos committed five errors and gave up nine free passes with five walks and four hit batters.
"This is spring break and they were on spring break, and they played like they were on spring break today, they really did," Carranza said.
It all started in the first inning.
Killeen took an early lead when a leadoff walk to Tyler Gordon, who made it to third on a wild pitch and a stolen base, resulted in a run on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt single by Zach Blankenship.
But a 3-6-3 double play erased Blankenship on the base path and Andrew Ramos struck out for no further damage.
Then it was Salado's turn, as the first four batters reached base, including back-to-back RBI singles from Bryce Martin and Jon Franz scored Marshall Mann and Trey Mohler, respectively.
Following a popout to Blankenship on the mound, his counterpart Regan Brazar plated Martin with an RBI single between shortstop and third base and then scored one at-bat later on a two-RBI double by his battery mate, Cole Haag, for a 5-1 advantage with only one out.
"It was pretty important to jump on them because we needed to get back into the swing of things and just get going," Haag said.
Salado (8-8) added two more runs on an RBI single by Mann followed immediately by a sacrifice fly to left that scored Trey Van Winkle from third after he and Britton Hawes reached on a pair of walks for a 7-1 lead after the first inning.
The Eagles continued to pile it on Killeen (6-9-1), despite a battery change of pitcher Marcos Hinojos and catcher Daniel Vega between innings, scoring one in the second on double-steal and then two more in the third on an error by Roos third baseman John Rechtorovic and a sacrifice groundout by Haag. Salado capped the run-rule with a four-run fourth when a bases-loaded single by Casey Frazier rolled through the legs of Killeen left fielder Garrett Gaskamp to clear the bases.
"We had some errors that helped, like Garrett out there when a routine single turns into a triple because it rolls through his legs and they score three runs," Carranza said. "That's not us."
After Brazar gave up a leadoff single to Gaskamp in the top of the second inning, he was pulled because of irregularities in his performance.
"Last time out he was (throwing) about 86-87 (mph) and dominant and today was he 77-78, so 10 off that we knew something was wrong so we got him out of there pretty fast," Krempin said.
Despite the pitching change, the Eagles continued to control things from the mound as reliever Caden Eary struck out three and only faced one over the minimum over the next 3 1/3 innings before Davis Little closed out the final two-thirds of an inning.
Salado 5, Jarrell 1 - Casey Frazier pitched a complete game and was the beneficiary of a two-run error in a four-run first inning as the Eagles swept a home doubleheader.
Jon Franz started the scoring with an RBI single in the bottom of the first before a soft dribbler by Frazier resulted in two errors as two runs crossed the plate to give Salado an early 4-0 advantage.
Britton Hawes added an RBI single in the fourth inning for the Eagles' only other run.