By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Tigers took to the road on Friday, May 6, as they began their 47-mile Road to Round Rock with a trip to the Metroplex. The Tigers took on Garland Lakeview Centennial in the opening game of their best two-of-three Class 6A Bi-District series.
After Lakeview scratched out a run in the first inning, the Tigers rode the solid pitching of Tanner Frick and the five-through-nine batters in the Belton batting order scored all 10 runs in a 10-1 thumping of the Patriots on their home field.
Lakeview scored in the bottom of the first inning, as starting pitcher Jim McCabe walked and was courtesy ran for by Brycen Ortega. He advanced on stolen base and wild pitch. Jake Farmer walked and attempted to steal second. He halted long enough to score Ortega to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead.
The Patriots got a triple from centerfielder Kamron FIelds. With the infield playing in, first baseman Justin Barker hit a grounder to Hobey Hiland at third base. He threw on the mark to catcher Collin Mask and he tagged Fields out at the plate.
Belton left four on base early before they cracked onto the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. Hiland singled and Hohhertz doubled Hiland home. Nathan Vail reached on an error that scored Hohhertz. After a fly out, Brandon Rudy singled to the opposite field and advanced all the way to third when the ball was misplayed by Maliek Phillips, scoring Vail. Tyler Kastner’s sacrifice fly scored Rudy to give Belton a 4-1 lead.
The Patriots threatened in the fourth inning, as Alex Bean doubled to the right-centerfield gap. After Frick struck out Blake Strunk, Drew Lively lined out to Rudy and stepped second base to double off Bean.
Lakeview attempted to generate a run in the fifth inning. With two outs, Fields singled. He was caught leaning off of first base on a nice pickoff move by Frick. Hohhertz’s relay throw to Rudy was on point, but the first base umpire ruled Fields safe. Fields ended up caught leaning again, this time off of second base and after a brief rundown, the Tigers tagged him out and ended the inning.
Belton added insurance in the top of the sixth inning. Hohhertz singled, Vail walked and both advanced up a base with a wild pitch. Miguel Quinones singled home Hohhertz, Rudy walked and Vail scored on the ball four wild pitch. Potvin drove in Quinones and the Tigers led 7-1.
The Tigers added three more runs in the seventh inning. Hiland was hit by a pitch, Hohhertz walked, Vail singled to load the bases, Quinones singled in Hiland and Rudy singled in Hohhertz and Vail to complete the scoring.
Frick turned the ball over to Remington Lutz and he closed out the seventh, allowing just a hit and a walk in an inning. Frick went six complete innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits, striking out five and walking only two.
Hohhertz and Vail reached base in all four trips to the plate. Hiland (two runs), Hohhertz (three runs), Vail (three runs), Quinones (one run) and Rudy (one run) combined for 10 runs. The Tigers picked up 11 hits, three walks and two batters were hit (Hohhertz and Vail, consecutively in the second inning), leaving nine runners on base.
Tying hit by Potvin in fifth, walk off single by Mask advances Tigers
The Belton Tigers hosted Garland Lakeview Centennial Saturday afternoon at Tiger Field in hopes of capitalizing on a 10-1 game one win on Friday night in Garland.
Trent Stafford and Marcus Pugh were locked in a pitcher’s duel and the Patriots nudged in front before an RBI single by Breck Potvin in the bottom of the fifth inning drove home Miguel Quinones and Collin Mask drove home Quinones with the bases-loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give the Tigers the series sweep, 2-1.
Belton will play Dallas Jesuit next week in the area playoff round. The Rangers dispatched North Mesquite in a series sweep, 10-0 and 9-0. The two teams played in Prosper back in March during the Highland Park Scotland Yard Classic, with Heath Van Kirk and Tyler Kastner locking up in a pitcher’s duel, won by the Rangers 2-0.
Stafford got the first two outs in the first inning and Jim McCabe reached base on a walk. Stafford caught McCabe leaning off of first to retire the side.
Kastner and Potvin each reached base in the first inning on singles, but the Tigers could not push them across in the open frame.
The Tigers got into a jam in the top of the second, as a single and two walks loaded the bases. With one out, Corey Murray hit a shot back up the middle to Stafford. He wheeled a throw to Quinones covering second and the relay to first finished the double play. It was a pivotal play early on in the ballgame.
The Patriots threatened to score in the top of the fourth inning. Jake Farmer walked and Alex Bean singled. A wild pitch moved the pair to second and third. Stafford fanned Blake Strunk and Drew Lively before getting Maliek Phillip to ground back to the mound to escape another rally attempt.
Belton staged their own threat in the fourth inning with two outs. Stafford singled and reached second. Reece Hohhertz was intentionally walked by Pugh and retired the side on a groundout.
Lakeview Centennial scratched out a run in the top of the fifth inning. Kamron Fields walked, Justin Barker was hit by a pitch and McCabe singled in Fields to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead. The Patriots did not reach base for the remainder of the game.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Quinones singled and moved to second during an error on a Brandon Rudy fielder’s choice. With two outs, Potvin singled to score Quinones and tie the ballgame at 1-1.
Belton had a runner in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Hobey Hiland singled and took second on an error by McCabe. A ground out stranded the Tigers’ third baseman on base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Quinones singled, Rudy walked and the pair moved up a base on Kastner’s sacrifice bunt. Potvin was intentionally walked to load the bases and set the stage for Mask’s heroics. On a 1-1 pitch, he hit grounder to Murray. He couldn’t come up with the ball and Quinones scored, setting the Tigers dugout scurrying out to celebrate.