The bases were loaded. Two outs illuminated on the scoreboard. Coppell senior pitcher Chayton Krauss rolled the ball through his hand as Plano West senior pitcher Nick Moore approached the plate.
The Coppell baseball team needed one more out to hold its lead.
Moore found an opening and made contact with the ball, sending it bouncing toward Coppell junior left fielder Walker Polk. Polk threw home to Coppell sophomore catcher Bradley Castillo, but it was too late. Moore received two RBIs, giving Plano West the lead.
The Cowboys lost to Plano West, 5-4, last night at the Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex.
“[Plano West] competed hard and we couldn’t come up with a big hit when it mattered most. They had two good pitchers throwing so it was tough at bat,” Coppell senior right Will Rodman said.
At the top of the first, Krauss pitched a clean inning with three consecutive strikeouts against Plano West. As the Cowboys (14-5-1, 1-2 in District 6-6A) faced Moore at the plate in the bottom of the first, it became evident that making contact with the ball would be difficult.
At the plate, Polk was hit by pitch and received a walk from Moore, putting him on first base, where he took second base after a balk by Moore and third base after tagging up. Coppell senior first baseman David Jeon approached the plate, ready to bat in Polk. Before he could make contact with the ball Moore balked again, allowing Polk to take home and with it, the first score of the night. The first inning ended with Coppell leading, 1-0
“We faced a good arm [with Moore and Plano West senior pitcher Chase Spencer] and struggled to make an adjustment to put the barrel on the ball,” Coppell coach Ryan Howard said. “We need to get our confidence back up at the plate when competing with two strikes. We’ve struggled when we’ve had guys in scoring position and when it comes down to it, it’s all about who gets the hit with the runners in scoring position.”
Coppell held this lead through the top of the fifth, when Krauss gave up two singles and a walk to Plano West. With loaded bases, Moore’s double allowed Plano West (4-4, 2-0) to rack up two runs on the scoreboard and take the lead, 2-1.
With Coppell holding first and third in the bottom of the fifth, Rodman approached the plate. At a pitch count of 3-2, Walker read the fastball and swung, sending it flying to center field for a double and two RBIs, bringing in Polk and Coppell junior pinch hitter Andrew Nester. Soon after, Castillo singled off a ground ball towards right field, giving Rodman time to run in.
After Rodman took home, Plano West changed pitchers and brought in Spencer. The fifth inning ended with Coppell up, 4-3.
“Rodman came up with a big hit with guys in scoring position,” Howard said. “He was able to get us the lead, unfortunately we weren’t able to hang on. We need to capitalize more offensively when we have the opportunities.”
On the first pitch at the top of the sixth, Plano West sent a fly ball towards left field and took it home for an in the park home run, tying the score at 4. A few batters later, Plano West took home off a Plano West single, causing Coppell to switch pitchers and bring in Coppell junior infielder/pitcher Will Boylan.
Plano West held its ground through the remainder of the game, keeping Coppell off the bases.
“We need to start putting balls in the gap and hitting more,” Walker said. “No matter who’s pitching we need to hit the ball. We did a good job getting pitch counts up, we got [Moore] out early but they brought another stud out [Spencer].”
Through the game, the Cowboys created many opportunities to make contact with the ball, with a total of 130 total pitches from Plano West, 103 from Moore and 27 from Spencer. However Coppell did not capitalize, with only five hits and four points on the board, as well as 61.5% of Plano West’s pitches being strikes.
On the other hand, the Cowboys threw 106 pitches, 84 by Krauss and 22 by Boylan. Plano West racked up eight hits and five points by the end of the night, with 42.5% being strikes.
“It’s all about who gets the hit with runners in scoring position,” Howard said. “We haven’t gotten that the past two games but the other teams have, and the scores show it. We’re looking forward to coming out and practicing tomorrow to get better [before Friday’s game].”
Coppell plays at Plano West Friday, with the first pitch at 7:30 p.m.
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