By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers and Harker Heights Lady Knights faced off at Belton’s Lady Tiger Field, each with their own objectives.
The Lady Tigers were looking to secure the second place spot in District 12-6A and put to bed the fresh ill memory of last Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Midway.
The Lady Knights looked to get into the playoff hunt and win a game that could put them on a surge into the second half of district play.
Belton answered the bell quickly and Harker Heights could not make it out of their corner, as the Lady Tigers got a three-run homer from Bekah Alcozer in the first inning and Sidney Holman threw her second perfect game of the district season to down Harker Heights 12-0.
Holman was efficient in her pitching, retiring 10 of the 12 Lady Knights.
Going into the game without injured first baseman Skylar Stewart, Belton head coach Matt Blackburn shook up the lineup in the batting order and in the field. Both worked.
With Heights’ head coach Jamie Edwards sending Klandia Bohac into the circle, Brittany Bass doubled to start off the bottom of the first. Destynie Moore sacrificed Bass to second base. Kaitlyn Jones singled into the short right field and the Heights defense quickly responded with a snap throw from right fielder Jalynn Everett to Karla Cosme at the plate, forcing Bass to put on the brakes halfway down the third base line, retreat back to third base and move Moore up to second base.
Bekah Alcozer then stepped into the batters box, fought off two pitches and then launched a pitch over the left centerfield wall for a three-run homer, putting the Lady Tigers up 3-0.
Holman went back into the circle to start the second and fanned Sierra Warren, Courtney Weeks and Everett in order.
Belton started their second inning with a liner from Shelby Hitt that took a strange hop at shortstop that Denise Zapata couldn’t come with. Sydney Andrews came in to courtesy run for the catcher Hitt. Holman, in her first at bat of the season, hit a shot down the left field line that two-hopped the wall for a double, driving in Andrews to make the score 4-0. Ryleigh Jarvis sacrificed Madison Winkler, who ran for Holman, to third to set up Bass’ RBI single. Moore sacrificed Bass to second base and Jones slap-double through the infield drive in Bass to make the score 6-0. Alcozer was hit by a pitch. Bohac uncorked a pitch that got away from Cosme that brought home Jones and sent Alcozer from first to third. Bethany Edwards doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Alcozer to make the score 8-0. Meredith Lusby then hit an RBI single, scoring Edwards and ending Bohac’s night in the circle, giving way to Warren. She induced a fielder’s choice to end Belton’s six-run second inning.
Holman continued Heights’ frustration at the plate, as she fanned Zapata and Cosme. Gillian Pons hit the hard ball of the night for Heights, as she grounded to Jones at second for the third out of the inning.
Holman walked to start the third inning and Baylee Leifester came on to run for her. Jarvis sacrificed Leifester to second base, Bass walked and Moore singled home Leifester to make the score 10-0. Jones drove in Bass with a single to make the score 11-0. Alcozer struck out but reached on a dropped third strike, scoring Moore and moving Jones to third. Jones scored on a wild pitch and Alcozer moved up to third. Edwards’ sacrifice fly scored Alcozer to make the score 13-0 after three innings.
Holman struck out the side in order in fourth, setting up Belton for the bottom of the frame.
Andrews led off the inning with a walk and Leifester hit a towering shot that hit the centerfield wall for a double driving in Andrews. Heights then brought in Skylar Faber to pitch to Winkler and induced a ground out to Zapata at shortstop, moving Leifester to third. The first pitch to Bass got away from Cosme and Leifester scored, ending the game due to the “15-run lead after four-inning rule”.
Holman was credited with her second perfect game in 12 days.
“Our girls never saw the pitch from the hip,” Edwards said. “Sidney is a special pitcher. We even broke out the machine and fully cranked it up in practice. Belton is always tough here and they hit the ball well tonight.”
Although the scoreboard may not indicate as such, the Lady Knights were quick to the ball on defense.
“Heights played really well defensively,” Blackburn said. “Our girls found the holes in the defense, but they closed them up quick.”
“I felt we played well on defense,” Edwards said. “But we have to get better in both facets of the game.”
Belton bounced back positively following the Midway loss, which should propel them through the second half of the district schedule.
“It was good seeing some other kids have success in the lineup tonight,” Blackburn said. “Seeing Ryleigh and Baylee do well was a plus.”