By Tony Adams
The Belton Razorbacks of the Belton Youth Baseball Association finished in fifth place overall at the Texas Teenage Baseball Association 10U State Tournament held at Northam/Wilson Park in Temple.
The Razorbacks lost to Mexia 7-5 to knock them into the losers’ bracket for win-and-survive game with Emory last Tuesday night.
Belton blasted the Emory Bulldogs to the tune of 20 runs in the first 1 2/3 innings en route to a 27-6 victory, setting up a date with the Temple Hooks on Wednesday.
Much in the same way that the Razorbacks jumped on the Bulldogs, they pounced on the hooks. The first six batters all scored, as Payton Miller doubled in a pair of runs and Nic Hightower, Elijah Munson, Konner Locklin and Kade Norwood knocked in single runs. The Hawgs led after a half-an-inning 6-0.
Following retiring the Hooks in order in the bottom of the frame, Bryan Henry reached base on an error and Miller blasted a towering fly ball over the left center field fence for a two-run homer and an 8-0 lead. The Razorbacks picked up three more runs and led 11-0 after two innings.
The Hooks scored two runs in the bottom of the second to draw the Hooks deficit back to nine runs at 11-2. Miller doubled in the top of third and Dale Kachner IV knocked him in with a single to make the score 12-2.
Temple’s best chance to get back into the game was the bottom of the third inning. Isaiah Fach launched a three-run homer to give the Hooks a ray of hope and draw the lone remaining Temple team to within seven runs at 12-5.
Elijah Munson answered the bell for the Razorbacks, as his matching three-run homer knocked home Miller, Hightower and Munson, to go with a Hightower RBI single and Belton won the game 16-5 to move into the next round to take on the Holland Rangers.
The winner of that game would be the lone remaining area team.
Holland threatened in the first inning. Ashton Morris singled but was tagged out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double. Brady Shelton doubled with two outs, but was stranded on Seth Hallbauer’s strikeout.
Josiah Mojica led off the Razorbacks with a walk, made his way around the bases and stole home to give them a 1-0 lead. Miller walked and scored. Kachner walked and Munson singled to set up a 3-RBI triple by Tanner Creel and gave the Hawgs a 6-0 lead after the first inning.
Creel struggled with his control in the top of the second. He walked five batters, hit one batter and struck out one in allowing three runs with one out in the inning, giving way to Henry with a 6-3 lead. Henry gave up two fielder’s choices and got out of the inning.
The Razorbacks scored one run in the bottom of the second base on two errors, two stolen bases and a walk.
The score remained 7-3 until the bottom of the third inning. The Razorbacks’ first eight batters of the inning reached base on seven hits and a fielder’s choice, scoring seven runs and lead blossomed into what would be a final of 14-3.
The win made the Razorbacks the highest finishing 10U team in Bell County and set up a re-match with the Mexia Blackcats on Thursday night, who dealt the Hawgs their only loss.
Mojica led off the game with a single and a stolen base. But Mojica was stranded on second base due to three consecutive strikeouts by the Razorbacks. It indicated a sign of trouble on the horizon for the Hawgs.
Mexia pushed across four runs in the first inning, on four hits and two walks to give the Blackcats an early four-run cushion. They scored two more in the second inning to extend the score to 6-0.
The Razorbacks cracked into the run column in the top of fourth, as Miller walked, Hightower doubled and Kachner walked to load the bases. Munson doubled in a pair of runs to cut the Blackcats’ lead to 6-2. Following two called-looking strikeouts on the Razorbacks, sandwiched between a bunt single by Creel to reload the bases, Mojica hit a soft grounder to shortstop, which he appeared to beat the throw by a stride. The field umpire was shielded by a passing runner and was out of position to make a call. He looked to the home plate umpire for assistance. Upon a discussion between the two, Mojica was called out, understandably drawing the ire of the Belton fans and Razorbacks’ coaching staff. The call ended the rally.
Following the first two Blackcats’ being retired in the bottom of the fourth inning, Trey Holdman homered to give Mexia a 7-2 lead.
The Razorbacks scored a run in the top of the fifth inning, as Henry reached base on an error, advanced to second and third on passed balls and scored on a 2-1 count to Miller. The Razorbacks could not score additional runs and despite putting two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, they could not draw even with Mexia and exited the TTAB State 10U tournament with a 7-3 loss.
The Blackcats seemed to be bad luck of sorts for the Razorbacks, as Belton’s two tournament losses were to Mexia by a combined 14-8 score. The Razorbacks’ three state tournament wins were by a combined score of 57-14.
The Razorbacks won District 5 with an undefeated run through the playoffs before finishing fifth in state.