By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
In a game that was postponed twice and rescheduled for Monday night, the Belton Tigers were hungry for a solid pre-playoff test.
They got exactly that in the District 12-6A champion Harker Heights Knights.
The Tigers avenged their 2-1 loss from April 5 with four home runs an escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh to hand Heights it’s first loss in district, 7-5.
Belton ended the regular season 18-10 and 10-2 in District 12-6A play. The Tigers have won six of their last seven ball games and 10 of their last 13.
Heights end the regular season 20-4-1 and 11-1 in District 12-6A play. The loss snapped their 11-game district winning streak.
The Knights jumped on top early, as Tyler Torres doubled and scored on Jacob Mitchell’s single to give Heights a 1-0 lead. Belton starter Remington Lutz pitched his way out of the jam to hold the Knights to one run in the first inning.
Breck Potvin answered the Heights tally with a smash off of a 1-2 curve ball from Knights’ starter Daniel Cole in the bottom of the first. The ball flew over the right field fence to tie the ballgame.
“I read curve ball all the way,” Potvin said. “It felt great coming off of the bat and it took off.”
Collin Mask worked Cole into a 3-1 offering. Cole elevated a fastball and Mask parked it in the players’ parking lot over the left centerfield fence, as the Tigers went back-to-back with round trippers to take a 2-1 lead.
Heights tied the ballgame in the top of the third inning, Kyle Skelton doubled and stole third. Skelton was nearly caught leaning away from third base, but a throw from Mask went to the foul side of third base and into left field, scoring Skelton. The Knights loaded the bases with two outs, but Lutz struck out Jake Dulaney to retire the side.
Belton’s lower part of the lineup manufactured two runs of support for Lutz in fourth inning against Mitchell, who relieved Cole in the prior inning. With one out, Reece Hohhertz walk and Nathan Vail doubled him to third base. After working Mitchell into a seven-pitch at-bat, Miguel Quinones singled to right field, scoring Hohhertz and Vail to give Belton a 4-2 lead.
Heights chipped away at Lutz in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Cole walked and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Mitchell walked and was courtesy run for by Kaven Jones. The pair scored on a two-out homer by Seth Dean, giving Heights a 5-4 advantage.
The Tigers answered the bell with three runs off of Dulaney, who relieved Mitchell in the fifth. Potvin walked after seeing seven pitches and Mask hit his second blast of the night into left centerfield to give Belton a 6-5 lead. Trent Stafford followed Mask’s second homer of the night with blast over the left centerfield wall three pitches later to give Belton a 7-5 lead.
Shane Mejia relieved Lutz in the sixth inning and placed the ball well, striking out two in the inning. He got into some trouble with a walk to Skelton and a single by Cole. Tanner Frick came in and hit Mitchell with a 2-1 pitch to load the bases. Frick settled in to strikeout Tyler Lamborn and Dean before inducing a Delaney groundout to Brandon Rudy to end the ballgame.
Both teams congratulated each other on the diamond at the end of the game, as many of the players have been on select baseball teams with one another throughout their middle school and high school days and may very well have been their final time on the diamond together.