Ellison simply had to win, but winning was not simple.
Needing a victory in the regular-season finale to clinch a playoff berth, the Eagles could not create enough separation against Shoemaker to escape striking distance, and in the seventh inning, the Grey Wolves rallied.
Sparked by consecutive RBIs from Daniel Villarreal and Gustavo Marquez, Shoemaker pulled within a run but could not complete the comeback as Ellison secured a spot in the postseason with a 5-4 win.
The outcome places the Eagles (13-16-2, 8-6 District 12-6A) in a three-way tie with Temple and Copperas Cove for third place in the final standings, but Ellison obtains the berth due to possessing a 2-0 record against the Bulldawgs and splitting with the Wildcats. Copperas Cove and Temple went 1-1 in their season series, setting up a play-in game for the final seed.
The Grey Wolves struck first Tuesday evening, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning after Gustavo’s RBI sent pitcher Thurman Thomas across home plate. One batter later, James Bowyer, who went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles, scored from third base on a wild pitch.
The advantage, however, would not hold.
Ellison immediately responded as leadoff hitter Julian Vascot delivered a double to open the bottom of the first inning. He was sent home on teammate Joseph Marin’s RBI single.
Moments later, the Eagles tied the game as Jose Melecio scored on an error before Carlos Roman Perez hit a double to score third baseman Frankie Santiago.
Ellison’s cushion inflated to three runs, 5-2, following consecutive RBI shots from Elias Rodriguez and Joffer Rodriguez in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Shoemaker began its comeback with one out remaining in the game as Illian Vasquez, who reached base on a walk, scored via Villareal’s single before Marquez followed suit in the next at-bat, scoring Bowyer.
But the Grey Wolves, who finished the season with a 1-13 record in district, could not complete the comeback.
Vascot punctuated the contest with his seventh strikeout in five innings of work.
The Eagles, who finished the regular-season schedule with two games in two days due to Friday’s inclement weather, now wait to discover their playoff fate. The first day for bi-district games is May 6.
x-Harker Heights 10-4
Copperas Cove 8-6
- Belton 10, Killeen 0, 5 innings
- Ellison 5, Shoemaker 4
- Harker Heights 13, Bryan 3, 5 innings
- Temple 8, Copperas Cove 4
End of Regular Season
- Copperas Cove vs. Temple, Saturday, TBD