By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
On the surface, the debut of Ellison starting pitcher Chris Stanley would appear to be rough barely earning the win in a 10-9 Eagle victory over visiting Temple on Saturday.
The numbers, however, give a different perspective.
Entering the seventh inning, Stanley had allowed only one earned run, eventually working 6 1/3 frames before yielding to Paul McCoy. In total, he allowed nine runs (three earned) while scattering nine hits; he walked one and struck out five in his first varsity appearance since transferring from Harker Heights last year.
McCoy, Trent Sinclair and Dustin Hallmark all had two RBIs apiece to spur Ellison (10-8), which overcame a 5-1 deficit and five costly errors with a seven-run fourth inning.
Temple, despite getting a two-run homer from Aaron Harper to pull within a run in the final frame, fell to 6-13.
"(Stanley) was a kid we projected to be on varsity all along, but he didn't become eligible until last week," Ellison coach Craig Martin said. "We've been looking forward to getting him up here."
Unearned Temple runs one in first, four in the fourth, and one more in the fifth proved to be Ellison's only real problem. Sinclair had a particularly tough outing at shortstop, committing an error in the first inning, and two more in Temple's four-run fourth.
"Routine plays have been our Achilles heel all year," Martin said. "We've made some great plays, but we continue to stub our toes on routine plays.
"It's one of those things we'll definitely have to fix."
Sinclair did, however, earn a measure of redemption, by driving in a pair of runs in the Eagles' seven-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth. McCoy notched both of his RBIs in the fourth as well, giving Ellison a lead it never relinquished.
Temple starting pitcher Blake Campbell, who had been staked to a 5-1 advantage through three, saw his day end with Ellison's explosion. He lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs (all earned) on six hits, walking five and striking out four.
Of Campbell's five walks, three came in his final inning of work, and all three Kyle King, Hallmark and Matt Jackson came home to score.
"We just didn't convert our opportunities," Temple coach Larry Haynes said. "We had a few chances to get out of the (fourth) inning, but we weren't able to do it."
Trailing 8-5, the Wildcats touched Stanley for two runs on two hits in the fifth, boosted by an RBI single by Harper, and an error by EHS third baseman Joe Torres. Ellison countered with a pair of runs of its own in the bottom of the frame, with Jackson singling and scoring on a base hit by Torres, and Sam Hull walking and scoring on a single from Brandon Skinner.
Temple's final threat came in the seventh, when Harper took Stanley's first offering over the right-field fence to score Justin Williams.
McCoy then shifted from centerfield to the mound and after walking John Wilson, retired Zach Crosswhite and Ryan Harrison to earn the save.
"I thought (Stanley) did a good job of competing out there," Haynes said. "They made some mistakes behind him and we were able to take advantage of it."
Ellison will next take the field in its District 16-4A opener at Lampasas on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Temple will travel to Harker Heights on the same evening for a District 13-5A contest at 6:30.
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org