The first place Brazos Valley Bombers opened a two-game road trip against a pair of divisional foes by losing to the Coppell Copperheads, 5-4.
The loss trims the B’s margin in the Speaker Division to one game over the idle Colleyville LoneStars and a game and a half over the Copperheads. The top two teams in each division qualify for the TCL playoffs.
Brazos Valley jumped to an early lead when Ryan Weber drove a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning. Following a walk to Chris Wallace, Weber drove a wind-aided fly to left that went for his first home run since the season opener.
Bombers starting pitcher John Touchton was effective early, retiring the first seven Copperheads before a one-single in the third. An infield hit put two runners on, but after getting the next batter to pop out, Touchton walked Matt McGuirk to load the bases. The strong wind came in to play again, when Matt Curry, Coppell’s leading power hitter, drove a strong fly to right that the right-to-left wind knocked down, allowing Mark McGonigle to make a catch at the warning track to end the threat.
The Bombers lengthened their lead in the fourth, once again using Mother Nature to their advantage. Weber greeted new reliever Derek VerHagen with a two-out single, followed by a walk to TJ Mittelstaedt. Keith Stein hit a fly to right-center and McGuirk in right field gave chase, but the wind kept the ball tailing away from him and he dropped it for a two-base error. With Weber already across in the inning, McGonigle lined a hard single through the right side to give the Bombers a 4-0 lead.
Unfortunately, that was the last the Brazos Valley offense would produce, though it did generate some opportunities. The B’s put a pair of runners on with one out in the fifth inning but they were unable to score. In the sixth, they loaded the bases with one out to chase VerHagen, but reliever Jake McCarter came on to strike out Blake Walker and Kip Masuda to end the potential rally.
Meanwhile, the Copperheads began chipping away. In the bottom of the fourth, they sent nine batters to the plate and scored three runs to make the score 4-3. The damage could have been much worse, though; Curry came to the plate for the second straight inning with the bases loaded, but this time Touchton muscled up and struck him out to close out the inning.
Coppell came all the way back and tied the score in the sixth. Jonas Fester singled off Touchton’s hand, then moved into scoring position on a balk. A single to right moved Fester to third, but he held up because of McGonigle’s cannon arm. But the next pitch got past Wallace to the backstop, and his throw to Touchton covering the plate was not in time as Fester tied the score.
Touchton closed out the sixth to finish off his evening. In six innings of work, he allowed four runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out three. He gave way to Brice Ary, who set down the Copperheads one-two-three in the seventh.
With McCarter keeping the Bombers in check, Ary (1-1) ran into trouble in the eighth. Coppell picked up a leadoff walk and after a sacrifice, another walk put two runners on. Ary elicited a fly out before issuing another walk to load the bases and end his evening.
Closer Tyler Davis came on to get the B’s out of the jam, but his first pitch squirted past Wallace and allowed Brandon Belt to score and give Coppell their first lead of the game. Davis recovered to strike out Anthony Walsh and end the inning, but the damage had been done.
The Brazos Valley offense was led by Weber, who went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Will Basom and Masuda each went 2-for-5 as well.
The B’s road trip continues Friday with a visit to the second-place Colleyville LoneStars. Following a well-deserved day off on Saturday, the Bombers return home for a pair with Duncanville. Sunday’s 3:05 pm game is another Bomb Squad Kids Club game, with all kids attending the game receiving a gift card for a free ice cream cone at McDonald’s, presented by Mix 104.7. Monday, July 31 is College Night, when anyone who presents a college ID gets a ticket for just one dollar, presented by Aggie 96.
Possibly the highlight of the Bombers entire promotional schedule is still to come, on Saturday, August 4 – Acie Law Bobblehead Giveaway. The Bombers will be taking on Colleyville in the first game of a weekend series to close out the regular season, but most fans will be interested in what’s being given away at the door. The first 500 fans through the gate will receive a miniature bobblehead likeness of the former Texas A&M All-American basketball player, now a first round draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks, courtesy of Brazos Valley Bank. This exciting giveaway has had fans buzzing ever since it was announced. It is the first Brazos Valley merchandise item with Law’s likeness and it is sure to be a hot commodity, so fans are encouraged to get tickets early so they don’t miss out.