By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Matt Blackburn is not a fan of one-game playoff series. It’s a discussion he has had with more than one person.
Mother Nature has tried to have her way with schedules in the State of Texas in 2015. She’s been pretty uncooperative throughout the process.
Thus, Belton entered into a one-game, winner-advances series with the Irving MacArthur Lady Cardinals at Lady Eagles’ Field in Hillsboro last Friday night, following a rain delay and previously scheduled Waco Midway softball game ahead of them.
The Lady Tigers came out swinging the bats and didn’t stop until the end of the ball game. Belton ripped MacArthur for nine runs in the third inning and Sidney Holman tossed her third no-hitter of the season, as Belton catapulted to a 14-0, five-inning win over the Lady Cardinals. The Lady Tigers have outscored opponents 36-1 in three playoff games and has won 13 of their last 15 games.
That, coupled with the Belton Tigers’ 18-game winning streak in baseball, has given the two springtime programs 31 wins in their last 33 games combined.
Destynie Moore and Brittany Bass had back-to-back doubles to put Belton up quickly 1-0.
Holman and Sydney Andrews had a pair of doubles in the second inning, as part of a four-run second inning. Skylar Stewart scored on Holman’s triple and Holman scored on Shelby Hitt’s fielder’s choice that she reached base on. Hitt then scored on Andrew’s three-bagger. Andrews scored when Bass reached on an error.
Belton scored 11 runs with two outs in the third inning, capped by majestic shot over the centerfield wall by Bekah Alcozer. All nine runs in the third inning scored with two outs.
“From start to finish, I thought we played as well as we have played all year long,” Blackburn said. Holman faced 16 batters during the contest, striking out 14 and walking one. The no-hitter was the fourth of the season, with the first three being perfect games against Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove in a span of two weeks.
“I would compare MacArthur to Sachse.” Blackburn explained. “Sid threw a one-hitter against Sachse and had several strikeouts against them at Hillsboro. But for her to come out and retire 14 of the 15 outs on strikeouts was pretty amazing to watch. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that MacArthur put the ball in play, that went to Kaitlyn Jones at second base and almost went to Sid, but was out of her reach. She had a dominating pitching performance. Offensively, we had more hits (16) than in any game this season. We had two triples, four doubles and Bekah’s homer.”
Belton advances into the Class 6A Regional Quarterfinals, with a best-of-three game series with the Rowlett Lady Eagles. All three games will be played at Highland Park’s Lady Scots Field. Game one is slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday night, game two slated for 5 p.m. on Friday and game three is slated to start 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two, should the need arise.