By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers hosted the Waco Midway Pantherettes on Tuesday night at Lady Tiger Field, with sole possession of first place on the line.
It was also a game that many from around the state watched, as Belton came in as Class 6A’s No. 6-ranked team and Midway as the No. 9-ranked team, per the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s latest poll.
Kendall Mraz continued her clutch hitting with an RBI single, scoring Bethany Edwards and Belton picked up six runs in the fifth inning, as the Lady Tigers cruised to a 7-0 over Midway to take over the top spot in District 12-6A.
Belton is now 19-2, currently riding a 17-game winning streak, is 5-0 in district and has only allowed one run in the last 10 games.
Midway dropped to 18-4 overall and 4-1 in district. The teams will meet in Hewitt on April 19.
Rhein Trochim singled, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Haley Moore and appeared to score on Chandlar Coskrey’s fly ball to centerfield. Trochim left third early and was called out, resulting in a double play that ended the top of the first inning.
Avery Drake tripled on an 0-1 pitch in the bottom of the first inning and Kaitlyn Jones singled to put runners at the corners. Morgan Ling was able to maneuver her way out of the jam.
Belton avoided trouble in the top of the second inning, as Sophie Wideman walked with two outs and Jazmine Gendorf came on to courtesy run. On a 2-2 pitch to Taylor Goulet, Gendorf took off and Edwards threw down to Meredith Lusby at second base, tagging out Gendorf to end the inning.
Ling and Sidney Holman were working through their opposing lineups until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Edwards lined a shot off of the left field wall for a double. Holman sacrificed Edwards to third and Mraz lined a 1-2 pitch to the opposite field for an RBI single, giving Belton a 1-0 lead.
Holman picked up a pair of strikeouts in the top of the fifth inning, leading the Lady Tigers back into the bottom of the inning.
Madison Ward led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, Lusby was hit by a pitch and Drake’s single scored Ward to increase the lead to 2-0. Destynie Moore doubled to the wall in right centerfield and scored Lusby and Drake to double the lead to 4-0. Jones reached base on an error and Edwards hit a 1-2 pitch to left centerfield deep into the Belton night sky to lead 6-0. Taylor Tubbs walked and Holman re-entered to run. She scored on an error to make the score 7-0.
Holman worked her way through the sixth inning and Belton threatened to plate more runs, but good defense got Midway out of further damage.
The Pantherettes put the first two runners on in the top of the seventh inning with singles, but Holman struck out the side to pick up her 17th win of the season in the circle. She struck 11 Midway batters (197 for the season), while scattering five hits and walking four.
Drake, Moore, Jones, Edwards and Ward all had two hits for the Lady Tigers, who tallied 13 hits on the night.
“The offense learned things throughout the game,” Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. “I think we made good adjustments as the plate for the most part. In the fifth inning, we got a couple of runners on and we hadn’t tried the short game yet. I decided that we should try the short game and it worked out. It was about the time that Midway thought we would stick with the short game and Destynie busted one out to right centerfield for a double to the wall. I wanted her to go for an extra bag and Midway is good on defense, so I knew better. We ended up getting some more runs throughout the inning, so I was really happy with the way that we played.
Belton plays in Harker Heights on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on Newstalk 1400 KTEM-AM, KTEMNews.com and the Radio Pup Application starting at 6:50 p.m. The game will wrap up the first half of District 12-6A play.
Edwards, Holman come up big in 11-0 win
Bethany Edwards clouted two massive home runs to left field, scored three runs and batted in five runs, while Sidney Holman fired 87 pitches in six innings to strikeout 17 Lady Eagles and walk one for another no-hitter. Belton went on to defeat Ellison 11-0 in six innings at Lady Eagle Field.
With one out in the first inning, Destynie Moore singled and stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out by Lusby and scored on a single by Edwards.
The Lady Tigers scored two more runs in the third inning, as Avery Drake singled, stole second and scored on Moore’s single to make the score 2-0. Moore was called out for leaving first too early and following a second out, Edwards hit her first home run of the game high over the left field fence to tack another run for the Lady Tigers.
Holman was cruising along, striking out the first seven Lady Eagles she faced until a borderline pitch on a full-count resulted in a walk to Melissa Cass, the Ellison starting pitcher. Holman stranded her at first base in the third inning.
Belton scored three runs in the fourth inning. Kendall Mraz was hit by a pitch, Caliegh Robinson singled, Madison Ward drove in Mraz with a single, Drake drove in Robinson on a dropped pop up and scored on an error by the Ellison shortstop. The error by the Ellison left fielder created confusion on the base paths, resulting in a double play.
Robinson and Ward picked up an RBI apiece, as Robinson’s double drove in Edwards and Ward’s single drove in Robinson to give Belton an 8-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Lady Tigers concluded their scoring in the top of the sixth inning. Moore singled and stole two bases, while Meredith Lusby walked. Edwards blasted a three-run homer that tucked between the foul pole and the utility building beyond the left field wall. The smash gave Belton an 11-0 lead.
No Ellison hitter put the ball into play until one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nani Camargo grounded to shortstop Lusby and she threw Camargo out at first base.
Holman was registering between 67 and 68 mile-per-hour with regularity and her curve balls were hitting all of their spots. She found herself in full counts just four times all day, registering three strikeouts and a walk.
Edwards reached base in all four plate appearances, as did Moore. Moore, Drake and Robinson each scored twice for the Lady Tigers.