Small ball provides big dividends for Lubbock-Cooper in win over Abilene Wylie

Lubbock-Cooper’s Kyle Lewis undercuts Abilene Wylie’s J.T. Thompson on a slide into second base in a District 4-5A game Saturday at First United Park in Woodrow.

WOODROW — With Wylie ace Brooks Gay on the mound, it was difficult for the Lubbock-Cooper baseball team to string together much offense.

Pirates coach Brad Wuensche turned to small ball, and the team got help from the Bulldogs’ defense.

Lubbock-Cooper didn’t lead until a four-run sixth inning, which was enough to push the Pirates to a 6-3 win Saturday at First United Park. The victory helped Lubbock-Cooper finish the first week of District 4-5A play 3-0 while handing Wylie its first league loss.

Trailing 3-2, Kylar Galmor led the sixth with a single. Wuensche turned to pinch hitter Koen Piepkorn, whose bunt turned into a three-base error that tied the game.

“I just wanted to do my job and do what I can for the team to help get us to the win,” Piepkorn said. “… As soon as I saw that throw, I was planning on scoring. I didn’t, but I was not ready to stop.”

The junior didn’t score, at least not yet.

Holt Gibson followed with a bunt to the pitcher Gay, who tried to throw out Piepkorn at the plate. A rundown ensued, which ended with an obstruction call that gave the Pirates (10-6 overall, 3-0 district) their first lead.

Wylie coach Grant Martin argued against the ruling but after the game declined to comment on the call.

“This was a great game today,” Martin said. “Two very, very good teams. They did more than we did. That’s the way I look at it.”

Abilene Wylie pitcher Brooks Gay tags Lubbock-Cooper’s Koen Piepkorn in a District 4-5A game Saturday at First United Park in Woodrow. Piepkorn was awarded a run after obstruction was called on the play.

With Gibson on second, Gay induced consecutive flyouts before Kyle Lewis made it 5-3 with a single to right field. An error on a pop fly kept the inning alive, and Cutter Douglas legged out an infield single that extended the lead to 6-3.

“Whenever you’ve got a premier pitcher like Brooks on the mound, you’ve got to try to find some ways to actually generate some momentum,” Wuensche said. “… Hats off to (Gay). He made us have to put the ball in play and made us work really hard. We were really just trying to catch momentum, somehow, someway. And today it was a little bit of small ball.”

Douglas was Gay’s final batter, exiting after allowing two earned runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Wylie (9-3, 2-1) took a 3-0 lead following three consecutive two-out singles in the third off Cooper starter Caden Cline. Cline left the game with two runners in scoring position in the fourth, and reliever Tyler Spruiell retired the next two batters to keep the deficit at 3-1.

Abilene Wylie’s Brooks Gay delivers a pitch against Lubbock-Cooper in a District 4-5A game Saturday at First United Park in Woodrow.

Martin lamented not extending the lead in what ended as the Bulldogs’ best chance.

“(Gay) kept us in the game,” Martin said. “We had some chances, I think, during it to kind of stretch it out, maybe continue to put a little bit more pressure on them. We didn’t get it done. Bottom line is, when it mattered, they did and we didn’t.”

Spruiell earned the win in 2⅔ innings of work. The junior lefty allowed one hit, tallying two strikeouts and no walks. Gibson closed the game by striking out the side in the seventh.

“Spruiell got a lot of time on the mound in some big situations for us already this year,” Wuensche said. “… Just really proud, again, of the selflessness of the dugout, of the bullpen, of the pitching staff. Just really excited the way these guys came out and fought today.”

Wylie plays Lubbock High at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a district game at Bulldog Field.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Lubbock-Cooper rallies to beat Abilene Wylie in 4-5A baseball game

Leave a Comment