By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
With Spring Break in session, Belton head coach Matt Blackburn gave his team the option of a non-mandatory practice on Monday afternoon.
What he received was the entire team show for the practice.
So what were the results of the practice you may ask?
Improved hitting and career nights for many of the Lady Tigers on Tuesday.
“The kids all came up voluntarily on their own,” Blackburn said. “I opened the gates, they came in. This is the type of team that we have this year: one that is on a mission to challenge for a championship.”
Madison Ward highlighted Belton’s nine-run first inning with a three-run triple and Ryleigh Jarvis highlighted the Lady Tigers’ 10-run third inning with a three-run triple, as Belton cranked out 18 hits in a 22-0, three-and-a-half inning win over the Killeen Lady Roos at Lady Tiger Field Tuesday night.
The Lady Tigers moved their District 12-6A record to 3-0, with a date upcoming at Killeen Ellison at 2 p.m. Friday. They have won 15 straight games and are 17-2, ranked sixth in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s March 8 poll.
Following a 1-2-3 strikeout inning by Sidney Holman in the Killeen first inning, the Lady Tigers surgically went to work on Lady Roos’ pitching. Avery Drake’s triple set up Destynie Moore’s sacrifice bunt to score Drake. Meredith Lusby, hitting in the third spot in the batting order, singled. Bethany Edwards walked and Holman sacrificed Lusby and Edwards up a base, while Kendall Mraz walked. Caliegh Robinson’s walked to force in Lusby and Ward cleared the bases with a triple. Ryleigh Jarvis singled and scored on Drake’s double. Moore drove in Drake and later scored to make the score 9-0 at the end of the first inning. The Lady Tigers sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning.
Killeen managed to get a bunt single in the second inning with one out, which was the only hit that Holman allowed. The runner was stranded at first base after two more strikeouts by Holman.
Belton generated three more runs in the second inning, as Holman, Mraz and Robinson all scored, with Ward and Drake picking up an RBI each to make the score 12-0 after two innings.
Edwards got credit for a caught stealing, as she picked off her Firecrackers’ select softball teammate Tangie Smith with two outs in the third inning. That opened the door for another Belton rally.
The Lady Tigers sent 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third inning. Four singles, three doubles, a triple, four walks and four errors later, Belton had another 10 runs and a 22-0 lead.
Holman slammed the door to end the game in the fourth with two strikeouts and a ground out to Robinson at first base. She threw 49 pitches in the ballgame, striking out eight Lady Roos and walking just one, while allowing one hit in the win.
Jarvis (3-for-4) and Ward (2-for-2) each had four RBIs, Avery was 4-for-4 with three runs batted in, Moore was 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, Lusby was 3-for-4 and Robinson had three RBIs.
“It was an offensive clinic out there tonight,” Blackburn said. “The girls performed well. I can’t complain about the hitting at all.”
Belton will travel to Killeen Ellison for a 2 p.m. game on Friday and will return home to host Waco Midway at 7 p.m. at Lady Tiger Field on Tuesday.
The Belton-Midway can be heard on KTEM-AM 1400, KTEMNews.com and on the Radio Pup Application starting a 6:50 p.m. Tuesday night.