ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rockwall-Heath pitcher Caleb Copley worked out of a final-inning jam to go the distance, beating Lake Highlands 5-4 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday.
After giving up three runs in the bottom of the 7th, Copley found his command against Michael Ketchmark, stranding the game-tying run and giving the Hawks a memorable victory at the major league park.
Lake Highlands' rally began on a Ben Fields single, scoring Alex Temple from third. Blake Woodson roped a double over the left fielder’s head, scoring Ryan Spencer and Fields. With the tying run on, Copley finished the job by getting Ketchmark to pop out for the final out.
“I was just trying to spot up,” Copley said. “I couldn’t put my changeup in the places I wanted at times. I ended up getting a couple guys out on changeups on the last few pitches. In the end, I ended up spotting up, doing my job and got out of it.”
While both pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone in the beginning of the game, Copley was able to settle into his off-speed pitches, relying on that changeup to get outs.
“My changeup -- I consider it my go-to pitch,” Copley said. “I like to throw it a lot. I like to throw it for strikes and get people out on it. When things start to get a little shaky, I try to throw that a little bit more than my fastball.”
Rockwall-Heath, No. 47 on ESPN Rise’s Fab 50, took an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Both teams' bats remained quiet until the top of the 5th, when Hawk cleanup hitter Jake Thomas roped a double and scored on a single by Jake Bledsoe.
Lake Highlands got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th after a sacrifice fly from Hudson Taylor scored Sean Guion from third. Guion reached on a throwing error and advanced on passed balls.
The Hawks scored their final run on two doubles, the first by Jovan Hernandez. Thompson traded places with Hernandez on second after hitting a double of his own, scoring Hernandez.
“We had some big hits.” Hawks head coach Gregory Harvey said. “Jake Bledsoe had a couple different times with a runner on second and two outs and got big hits. We work on that all the time -- we think it breaks the other team’s back when we get a two-out hit and score some runs.”
Win or lose, the experience both teams had playing at Rangers Ballpark is one they will never forget.
“This is a once in a lifetime deal for a lot of these guys,” Harvey said. “It’s just something that’s pretty special and we enjoy doing it.”
No. 17 Flower Mound 8, Georgetown 4
Flower Mound withstood a good Georgetown team at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday while also experimenting with different variations of defensive lineups.
Flower Mound head coach Marte Amrine said he used the special game to give all his players a chance to play as well as try players out at different positions.
“It’s awesome to give our kids the chance to play in the big ballpark,” Amrine said. “To play against a great team like Georgetown -- they are a great team. It’s a lot of fun having them come down and play. It’s just a good experience all around.”