By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE - Knowing what was coming next, Killeen coach Mark Carranza explained the scenarios to the Kangaroos infield.
The worst thing they could do, he said, was overthrow the pass to third base.
The worst thing happened anyway.
Gatesville's Tyler English laid down a bunt, Killeen catcher Josh Yonker overthrew third base and the Hornets' Payton George scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 4-3 Hornets win Monday at Gatesville.
"I told them, 'Take what they give us.' (Yonker) should've taken the out at first, he came out trying to do too much and it was a bad throw that went out to left field and (that was the) ballgame," Carranza said. "He tried hard, the effort was good, but I told them to take what they give us ... but we didn't get that chance."
Gatesville (6-5) took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when pinch hitter Dillon Pruitt scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk.
Yonker, who led Killeen at the plate going 2-for-4 with a double, knocked in the tying run in the top of the seventh with a one-out sacrifice fly, but Anthony Freeman flied out to right field to end the inning with Josh Allyn stranded on third.
"We were clutch on the mound and we were clutch defensively and when we had to at the end, they kind of threw the ball away, but we executed a good bunt and did what we needed to do and got a break," Gatesville coach Graig Keeton said.
Killeen (4-8) loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, but the Hornets' Matthew Wallace struck out Craig Bell and Jeff Wilson in consecutive at-bats.
"That's the story of us so far - we haven't been putting the bat on the ball enough," Carranza said, "and when we put it on the ball, no one's on. Anybody can be a hero when nobody's on. That's what I tell them, 'What happens when you've got people in scoring position is what matters.'"
The Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Barton Courtney that scored Seth Barton, who reached on a lead-off triple. Courtney, though, was thrown out at home trying to score on a squeeze play.
Wallace slapped an RBI triple in the second to plate Allan Watson, who reached on a walk, but was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball to third.
"Our baserunning is not very good right now and that's the No. 1 thing we're going address this week in practice," Keeton said. "We've got to get better at that, that's just all there is to it. We won't win a ton of games if we don't get better there."
Hornets starting pitcher Tyler Jaynes pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out seven and walked four before being replaced by Wallace in the sixth after walking Zach Blankenship and loading the bases.
Jordan Fuentes pitched all eight innings for Killeen. He gave up five hits, walked three, struck out two and hit two.
Andrew Ramos went 1-for-4 with a two-RBI single in the fourth for Killeen and Wallace and Barton each went 1-for-3 with triples to lead the Hornets.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.