By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Ty Johnson saw Joel Hogan step into the batters box.
And he didn't see Hogan again until the "dawg" pile dispersed.
Copperas Cove's raucous celebration stemmed from Hogan's walk-off single in the 12th inning Friday afternoon, giving the Bulldawgs a 7-6 win over Ellison.
Johnson came to the plate in the bottom of the 12th with no outs and nobody on. He drew a walk and was sacrificed over by Julian Doubleday. Johnson
scampered to third on a passed ball by Eagles catcher Felix Collazo.
With two down and Johnson on third, Hogan, who was 4-for-7 at the plate with 3 RBIs and a run, swung at the first pitch he saw and dropped it in behind second base, scoring Johnson and ending the marathon game.
"I just wanted to get a base hit and get us out of here," said Hogan. "It hurt being at the bottom of that pile, but the win feels better."
The remaining Dawgs (7-10, 3-0 12-5A) piled onto the field and onto Hogan. The ending was tremendous for Cove, but it also couldn't have asked for a better start.
A lead-off walk to Warren Neely was followed by a single from center fielder Austin Greene. The Dawgs loaded the bases when Johnson walked. Justin Greene also got a free pass and Neely crossed the plate for the game's first run.
Austin Greene scored on a fielder's choice from Hogan, to put Cove up 2-0 before Eagles pitcher Tyler Bark, who pitched 8 2/3 innings, struck out eight and gave up five earned runs, but still got a no decision, got Brandon Smith to pop to short-stop to kill the threat.
Ellison (1-16, 0-3 12-5A) evened the score at 2-2 in the second inning.
Johnson walked Eagles lead-off hitter second baseman Landon Persick on four pitches. After Taylor Jacobs bunted Persick to second base, Collazo plated him on a single to right, making the score 2-1 Cove.
The Eagles tied the game on a Sam Weston groundout, which scored courtesy runner Marquis Brunson.
The Dawgs fired back their next time up.
Duncan Purnell led off the bottom of the second with a single and was moved over by Matt Stoddard on a sacrifice bunt.
But Purnell never stopped running.
He slid into third as Eagles first baseman Garrett Sinclair's throw from across the diamond sailed into the Ellison dugout, allowing Purnell to score. Cove and Ellison traded two runs a piece in the third and fourth innings as Cove took a 5-4 lead.
In the seventh, Johnson issued a lead-off walk and was pulled for sophomore Sevonne Spinks.
"Today I wasn't using my bottom half as much, so I overcompensated with my arm," Johnson said. "I was flying (open) and spraying the ball all over the place."
After setting down the next two batters, Collazo hit a ground ball to Purnell who's subsequent errant-throw not only allowed the hitter to be safe, but also let Brunson (Figueroa's courtesy runner) to tie the game.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Bark disposed of the Cove hitters in order, sending the game into extra innings.
Spinks pitched six scoreless-innings in relief and got the win.
"Ty (Johnson) did a great job today and I tried to follow his performance positively," Spinks said. "I tried to throw strikes (and) get people out to help my team,"
Ethan Schaefnocker scored the go-ahead run off a Matt Stoddard error with two gone in the eighth inning. Down 6-5, Johnson strode to the plate with one out.
"I was just trying to get because there was nobody on base," Johnson said. "But he threw me an inside fastball and I turned on it."
Instead he pulled the ball down the left field line and over the fence to tie the game at 6-6.
It stayed that way until the 12th inning when Hogan stepped into the box.