By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers couldn’t overcome a pair of costly errors, resulting in four unearned runs, giving the Midway Pantherettes a 5-1 win in Hewitt.
The win gives Midway (11-2 overall) sole possession of first place in District 12-6A with a 5-0 record, leading Belton (10-4 overall, 4-1 overall) by a game.
Belton scored a run in the first inning, as Brittany Bass hit a ball that dropped into left field for an apparent single, but ruled an error by the official scorer. Then Bekah Alcozer walked and Skylar Stewart’s line shot single up the middle scored Bass to give the Lady Tigers an early 1-0 lead. Alcozer and Stewart were stranded on second and third to end the inning.
Rhein Trochim singled to start the bottom of the first for Midway. Sophie Wideman singled to right field. Ryleigh Jarvis came up firing and hit Bass dead on the base at third to tag out Trochim. Taylor Ellis walked to give Midway runners on second and third. With two outs, Belton committed its first error of the ballgame and Wideman and Ellis scored to give Midway a 2-1 lead.
Destynie Moore singled and stole second base in the top of the second to give the Lady Tigers a runner in scoring position, but Belton couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. It was the last time Belton had a runner advance past first the rest of the game.
The score stayed 2-1 with a nice double play in the third between Stewart and Meredith Lusby doubling up Ellis and Taylor Mordecai.
In the fifth inning, Trochim reached first on a bang-bang play and then appeared to have left early in stealing second base. Ellis drove in Trochim, giving starter Sidney Holman her first earned run against her in district play and a 3-1 Midway lead.
The Pantherettes tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning on another Belton error to make the score 5-1.
“There was no room for two errors,” Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. “It’s a 1-0 game for a long time if the error in the first inning doesn’t happen. We talked all year long about being consistent in practice and suit up and play. I just got done telling them that you just can’t flip a switch and decide tonight that you want to be the best team in the district. If you don’t practice like it, it’s very hard to play like it. It’s something that we are going to work on in practice.”
Morgan Ling pitched a complete game, three-hitter for Midway. She struck out eight batters and walked three, including Alcozer twice.
“Morgan has done a solid job for us this year,” Midway head coach Michelle Edwards said. “She’s moved the ball around well all year. She’s not a power pitcher, but she can hit her spots. Tonight, her curve ball was on.”
Holman had another good outing, only allowing one earned run in six innings, scattering eight hits, striking out six and walking four.
“I was real proud of how our girls battled tonight,” Midway head coach Michelle Edwards said. “And Belton has a great pitcher. Sidney (Holman) is phenomenal. She hits her spots and is a hard pitcher to hit. She changes speeds so well.”
For the first time in quite a while, Belton did not have a leadoff hitter reach base in the game.
“That was the most frustrating thing for me,” Blackburn said. “We didn’t have a runner reach base to start any inning. That throws any strategy out the window. I’m not going to bunt with a runner at first base if the right kid’s not at the plate.”
Midway will play Belton at Lady Tiger Field on April 17. It will be a day that both teams will certainly circle on the schedule.
“It’s hard to beat Belton in Belton,” Edwards said.
The Belton Lady Tigers softball team continued its winning ways last Friday afternoon, as the team hammered home eight runs in the third inning and Sidney Holman has nine strikeouts in five innings en route to an 11-0, four-and-a-half inning victory over Killeen Ellison at Lady Tiger Field.
The win lifted the Lady Tigers to a 4-0 record in District 12-6A play (10-3 overall), outscoring opponents 44-0.
Ellison’s Dusti Douglas reached base on a single, sandwiched between Holman’s three, first inning strikeouts.
Belton scored three times in the bottom of the first inning. Kaitlyn Jones was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Brittany Bass’ single plated Jones for the first run, but Bass was thrown out at second attempting to steal. Bekah Alcozer walked, Skylar Stewart moved Alcozer to second on a groundout and Bethany Edwards knocked in Alcozer with a double to make the score 2-0. Edwards stole third and scored on a wild pitch during Shelby Hitt’s at-bat to give the Lady Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Holman rolled through the second and third innings with four more strikeouts and a great backhanded catch on Madison Rivers’ bunt attempt.
Alcozer and Stewart singled, while Edwards walked to load the bases. Meredith Lusby walked to force in Alcozer, Madison Winkler singled in Stewart, Destynie Moore singled in Edwards, Jones walked to force in Lusby, Winkler scored on a passed ball and Moore moved up to third base and Bass tripled to clear the bases to make the score 10-0. Alcozer’s sacrifice fly plated Bass to score the Lady Tigers’ eighth run of the inning and make the score 11-0.
Ellison gave the Lady Tigers a threat in the fourth inning with two outs. Kennedy Connell and Alexis Watson singled and Kelsie Kaminski reached on an error to give the Lady Eagles a bases-loaded situation, one that the Lady Tigers had yet to see in district play. Holman induced a Bryana Sanchez flyout to Moore in left field to end the inning.
The Lady Tigers tried to end the game in the fourth inning under the “15-runs after four innings” mercy rule, as Hitt doubled and Lusby walked with no outs. Jones walked to load the bases with two outs, but Ellison forced a ground out to end the inning and earn themselves a final at-bat in the top of the fifth.
Holman got Taren Frescatore to fly out to Lusby at shortstop, struck out Mickey Monge and got Rivers to fly back to her for the second time in the game and ended the ball game under mercy rule (10-run lead after five innings).
Bass, Moore and Stewart each had two hits, while Jones, Alcozer and Edwards each scored two runs.
Holman was solid for the fourth game in a row, not allowing a run, gave up three hits, walked none and struck out nine in five innings. She has been lights out in district through the first four games, not allowing a run and allowing just six hits, walking six (no walks in last two games) and striking out 41 batters.
The Lady Tigers’ offense has scored 44 runs in the first four district games and goes into the Midway game with a boatload of confidence.
Inside the numbers
The Lady Tigers are 10-4 overall and the weather has shortened up their schedule, as it has for other teams. Belton lost at least two of their Round Rock Tournament games and lost its entire CenTex Hit-And-Run Tournament (five games) due to weather and poor field conditions.
But that doesn’t mean that the team isn’t doing the work it takes to take them deep into the Class 6A playoff mix.
The team is outscoring opponents 103-34 through 14 games going including Tuesday night’s game against Midway, including a 45-5 stretch in five games.
Here are the top five statistical leaders for the Lady Tigers prior to Tuesday’s game with Midway:
Games played: Kaitlyn Jones, Bekah Alcozer, Bethany Edwards and Meredith Lusby, all with 13 games.
Plate appearances: Jones (47), Lusby (46), Alcozer (43), Edwards (40) and Stewart (39).
At-Bats: Lusby (39), Edwards and Stewart (37), Jones (35) and Destynie Moore (34).
Batting average: Shelby Hitt (.556), Jones (.486), Alcozer (.484), Stewart (.459) and Moore (.441).
Runs scored: Jones (17), Alcozer (16), Stewart and Moore (13) and Edwards (12).
Hits: Jones and Stewart (17), Alcozer and Moore (15) and Edwards (14).
Doubles: Stewart (7), Lusby (5) and Hitt, Jones, Alcozer and Edwards (2).
Triples: Edwards and Brittany Bass (1).
Home Runs: Alcozer (3), Jones, Moore and Edwards (1).
Runs batted in: Alcozer (16), Jones and Edwards (13), Stewart (10) and Bass (9).
Walks: Jones (8), Alcozer (7), Lusby (6), Hitt (4) and Moore, Edwards, Bass and Madison Winkler (3).
Hit-by-pitch: Alcozer (3), Winkler and Jones (2), Bass and Ryleigh Jarvis (1).
Stolen bases: Jones (9), Moore (5), Bass and Alcozer (3) and Edwards (2).
Sacrifices (bunts and flies): Jones and Alcozer (2), Stewart, Moore, Jarvis, Lusby, Bass and Sydney Andrews (1).
Average with runners in scoring position: Jones (.615, 8-of-13), Alcozer (.500, 7-of-14), Moore (.500, 5-of-10), Edwards (.455, 10-of-22) and Hitt (.333, 4-of-12).
Sidney Holman is 10-3 in the circle for the Lady Tigers in 2015. Prior to the game on Tuesday night, she has thrown 1,239 pitches, 462 balls, 777 strikes, has allowed 19 earned runs (10 unearned, 29 total), has a 1.85 ERA, allowed 45 hits, walked 37 batters and struck out 111 batters for a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
With eight district games and two non-district tilts with Midlothian and Hutto remaining, Holman has a good chance to reach her own school record for strikeouts in a season (218 in 2014).