By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Katelynn Stephens dominated while her counterpart Morissa Cosper struggled to find her mark as the Lady Dawgs blasted Shoemaker 15-0 in four innings Monday night.
While Cosper struggled simply to throw strikes, Stephens was near perfect, allowing one hit to go along with six strikeouts.
"(Stephens) has been a starter for (us) since her freshman year and has earned the right to be called our ace," said Lady Dawgs coach Jim Lowery.
Stephens toed the rubber and set the tone early as she struck out the side in the top of the first inning.
"I was just trying to throw strikes and let my defense help me," Stephens said.
Cove's (13-5, 1-1) offense backed up its starter, scoring three runs apiece in the first two innings.
With two runners on and no outs in the first, the Lady Dawgs' Irene Espinoza drilled a two-run single to the base of the left-field wall to begin the rout.
Espinoza then stole second and was sacrificed to third by Brianna Sinclair. Rachal Jost followed with a sacrifice fly of her own and the score was 3-0 after the opening frame.
Espinoza barely missed another home run in the fourth inning, sending a line drive to the top of the center field wall for a two-RBI double.
"My previous bats weren't too (good), so I wanted to get a good hit," Espinoza said. "The pitch was outside and I just went with it."
Only two Shoemaker hitters were able to get the ball out of the infield against Stephens - one a lone single and the other was a lazy fly-out to right field.
Stephens only found herself in trouble once the whole night, after walking the first two Lady Grey Wolves in the top of the third.
"I couldn't let them score," Stephens said. "I put it in my mind and heart that they wouldn't score, so I wouldn't let them cross the plate."