Belton Baseball turned the corner when COVID slammed into season

by / 0 Comments / 283 View / May 7, 2020

Not unlike all of the other Belton Tiger Athletics’ sports teams this spring, Tiger Baseball was resurgent after a tough start offensively.
Belton was shut out in two of their first three games while squeezing out three runs in the win sandwiched in the middle.
Down 6-2 to then Class 4A No. 4 Amarillo at the Rock Hardball Classic, Belton rallied to beat the Sandies, 7-6. It set the Tigers up with momentum that helped Belton win four of their next five games by a combined score of 24-10.
Inclement weather on late on March 4 created field issues the next day, when the Tigers were scheduled to play Anderson High School at Nelson Field on March 5. The game got canceled and the Tigers headed up to the artificial turf at Georgetown East View, where they shut out Austin Akins in windy conditions, 4-0.
The following day, the Tigers struggled to find the offense again against Laredo United and Austin Vandegrift, falling 3-2 and 6-3 respectively.
Belton did not lose another game in 2020, as they routed Del Valle on March 7 (18-2), nipped Killeen on a walk-off walk (3-2) on March 10, was tied late by Lakeview Centennial (7-7) and ripped Richardson Berkner (10-0) on March 11.
To date, the Tigers had outscored opponents 70-35. The average score favored the Tigers, 5.0-2.5.
However, news started to drift around the Dallas area the day before the Jay Higgins/Lake Highlands Tournament started on March 11 that the event might not be played. Fortunately for the Tigers, the Centennial and Berkner games were played on March 12. The Tigers-Rams game concluded at 7 p.m. Weather moved into the area and dumped heavy rain in the Dallas/Richardson area, making fields unplayable. The remainder of the tournament was canceled. March 12 is the last time the team touched the field, as the Texas Interscholastic League postponed play twice, and eventually canceled the season outright on April 17.
The cancelation of the season unceremoniously ended the high school careers of Shin Blanton, Will Wallace, Jace Stephen, Joaquin Gonzalez, Jakob Norwood, Rowdy Soliz, Chase King and Canyon Tubbs.
Tigers finished 8-5-1 overall and 2-1 in District 12-6A play, good for a second-place tie with Waco and Temple.
Junior infielder Ben Jones, junior infielder Scott Gurnett, junior catcher Cooper Babcock, and pitchers Stephen and King each collected First Team All-District 12-6A honors.
Junior infielder Caleb Alexander, junior outfielder Keagan Wolfe, junior outfielder Gunner Garrett and catcher Gonzalez all received Second Team All-District 12-6A awards.
Soliz. Norwood, Wallace, Blanton and Tubbs all received Honorable Mentions.
Additionally, Garrett was named to the Second Team of the Texas High School Coaches Association Academic All-State Team. Gonzalez and Blanton were Honorable Mentions.
District 12-6A for 2020-2022 will be sans Waco Midway and Waco High. However, they will renew their rivalry with the Bryan Vikings, who went 7-3 this season and are sprung from the Cypress-laden District 14-6A.
With the opening of Lake Belton High School and the fielding of the inaugural Bronco Baseball squad in 2020, the varsity returning numbers will not change above in the incoming junior and senior classes. However, the JV Red and White numbers may dip a bit, as the incoming sophomore and freshman classes will give both schools the ability to challenge in 2021.