With every other game in the Texas Collegiate League postponed by rain, Tuesday night’s contest between the Brazos Valley Bombers and Coppell Copperheads was in the league spotlight. And it was a game that was well worth the spotlight.
BRAZOS VALLEY 1, COPPELL 0
Bombers starting pitcher Casey Whitmer posted a gem, striking out the first five Copperheads he faced on his way to a Brazos Valley-record 14 K’s. But it took a pinch-hit single by Blake Walker with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Brazos Valley a 1-0 victory and close to within a game of Coppell for the Tris Speaker Division lead. Whitmer fell just one strikeout short of the league regular-season mark of 15 and set a new Bombers team record in the process. In seven innings, he allowed just two singles and walked one. He struck out the side in the first and fourth and struck out two Copperheads in each of three other innings. Whitmer didn’t pick up a decision, though, because when he handed the ball to reliever Tyler Davis (1-0) to open the eighth inning, the Bombers were locked in a 0-0 pitcher’s duel with the Copperheads. Davis pitched two innings of scoreless relief to take the game into the bottom of the ninth – the perfect stage for Walker’s heroics. Keith Stein led off the frame with a strong single, then Ryan Weber laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Stein over to second. Catcher Kip Masuda, whose two home runs Saturday night helped propel the Bombers to a win in Coppell, popped out for the second out in the inning. Head coach Kevin Moulder dipped into his bench and plucked Walker to pinch-hit. Walker collected three hits in Coppell on Saturday and had been swinging a hot bat of late. It turned out be the right move, as Walker lined a single to right-center, sending Stein home with the winning run. That the game ended up being a scoreless deadlock until the last pitch was somewhat of a surprise. The Copperheads entered the game as the division leaders and the best-hitting team in the TCL, with a .275 team batting average. In addition to Walker’s bat, first baseman Will Basom went 3-for-4 and Stein added a pair of singles. Coppell's starter Clayton Ehlert didn't give up any runs through five innings striking out two.