By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
The Ellison players were calling it "batting practice."
Longtime Killeen coach Mark Carranza called it a "throw-away" game.
Taking advantage of three different Roos pitchers, a potent Eagles offense rolled up 16 hits in an 18-2, five-inning drubbing of cross-town rival Killeen in a non-district make-up game on Saturday.
"It's awesome because last year we got beat like this, so to come out and win like this, know we're the better team and just prove it, that's what we wanted to do," said junior leadoff hitter K.J. Stark.
Battling around in three of the five innings, the Eagles got support throughout their lineup as seven of their nine starters tallied at least two hits, six of which had at least two RBIs.
"To have a game like today, where everything seems to happen fairly easy for us, is always good," Ellison coach Craig Martin said. "We got a lot of at bats, put a lot of good swings on some pitches and it just extends their confidence."
While junior Justin Dingman led the way batting 2-for-3 with four RBIs, the bottom-half of the lineup came through big as the No. 5-9 hitters combined to go 10-for-14 with 10 RBIs.
Helping the cause were senior Ryan Bates, who contributed an RBI-double and a 2-run home run to left-center out of the No. 7 hole, and Stark, who were both 2-for-4 with three RBIs on the afternoon.
"On a day like this, it's easy to hit them out - just make contact and hit the ball hard," Bates said.
Earning the win was spot-starter Jacob Brank, who went the distance and limited the Roos to just three hits.
A night after rallying for two runs in the bottom of the ninth against District 12-5A power Bryan, Ellison had a one-inning holdover before the bats busted out for six runs in to top of the second inning, with Stark and Dingman each contributing two-RBIs knocks against Killeen starter Marcus Mather.
Killeen answered with one run in the next half inning on an RBI-sacrifice from Bryan Skelton, and added on more in the bottom of the fourth, but the damage was already done as the Eagles celebrated throughout and the Roos nursed their wounds.
"We played like it was a throw-away game - there was no enthusiasm, no chatter," said Killeen coach Mark Carranza.
And following Saturday's dominating victory, the Eagles' confidence is running high across the board.
"Offense is rolling. We're doing good and hitting the ball hard, that's all you have to do in baseball," Bates said. "If you hit the ball hard, either they make plays or you just hit them in gaps. And right now, we're really going."
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (254) 501-7566.