By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Trey Bell, Miguel Quinones and Reese Hohhertz had two runs batted in each and Trent Stafford scattered five hits in a 12-4, six-inning win over Humble Kingwood Park at Dragon Diamond in Round Rock, beginning the opening day of the Langerhans-Bratcher Tournament.
The win moved the Tigers record to 4-2 on the season.
The Tigers were down 3-0 in the bottom of the third when Belton tied the ball game. They took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and Kingwood Park tied the game back up in the fifth inning. Belton scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and picked up five more runs before time expired.
Stafford pitched six innings, allowing four runs on five hits, striking out nine batters, hitting one batter and walking only one. The five-through-nine hitters for Kingwood Park were a combined 0-of-14 with six strikeouts.
Xavier Haines walked three times and scored three runs for the Tigers. Bell and Mask each had two hits for Belton.
Tigers fall to Fossil Ridge, drop Westwood in extra innings
The latter part of the 2015 Langerhans-Bratcher Tournament in Round Rock last season provided an unwelcomed backdrop at the beginning of the season for the Belton Tigers.
After winning the first two games of that tournament, Belton had lost the last two games of the tournament after losses to Keller Fossil Ridge and Westwood. It was the start of a seven-game losing streak that led to Belton’s school-record 19-game winning streak.
The 2016 version of the Langerhans-Bratcher featured the same two teams at Westwood on Friday.
Even though the Tigers fell to Fossil Ridge in a hard-fought 11-6 game, Belton roared back for a 5-3, extra-inning win over Westwood on their home diamond. Belton pounded Lewisville on Saturday morning for nine hits in a 9-4 win and outlasted Stony Point 7-2 in a rematch of last week’s loss on Stony’s home field.
The Tigers improved their record to 7-3, as they prepare for this week’s Highland Park Scotland Yard Tournament and Thursday’s showdown with Class 6A No. 1 Coppell Thursday afternoon.
Breck Potvin and Tyler Kastner doubled to start the game against Fossil Ridge. Hiland doubled home Potvin and Kastner to give Belton an early 2-0 advantage.
The Panthers tied the score in the bottom of the second on a single by Carlos Tavera and suicide squeeze by Isaia Diermeyer.
Belton took a 4-2 lead when Potvin singled and Collin Mask blasted a two-run shot over the left-centerfield wall.
Dylan Neuse’s two-run double and Tavera’s RBI-double gave the Panthers a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the third.
The Tigers took a 6-5 lead in the top of the fourth on RBI singles from Potvin and Brandon Rudy, scoring Eric Hoffman and Remington Lutz.
Fossil Ridge counterpunched in the bottom of the fourth with three runs to take an 8-6 lead and tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win.
Potvin was 3-of-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hiland, Mask, Aaron Krueger and Miguel Quinones each had two hits.
Cameron Whitman took the loss, surrendering eight runs (five earned), on seven hits, walking one and striking out two. Shane Mejia pitched two innings in relief, allowing two runs on one hit, walking three and striking out one. Xavier Haines pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing a run on two hits.
The Tigers took on Westwood in the Friday nightcap. Belton immediately took a 1-0 lead, as Potvin singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by the Warriors’ second baseman.
Belton went up 3-0 in the fifth inning on a pair of unearned runs. Potvin doubled and moved to third when Trey Bell reached on an error. Potvin scored on an error by the Warriors’ catcher and Bell scored on a wild pitch.
Westwood scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to send the game into an extra inning.
Reese Hohhertz walked to start the eighth inning and Haines was hit by a pitch. Following a bizarre offensive interference call on Rudy, Trent Stafford launched a two-run double off of the left centerfield wall to put Belton up 5-3.
Potvin and Vail each picked up two hits in the game.
Kastner came on and shut down Westwood, giving the Tigers the two-run victory.
Lutz pitched five innings for the Tigers, allowing one unearned run on three hits, walking five and striking out five. Kastner pitched three innings and picked up the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, walking three and striking out three.
On Saturday, the venue shifted to Stony Point’s Tiger Field, as Big Red took on Lewisville in the morning half of the morning-afternoon twinbill.
Once again, the Tigers jumped on the opposition to start the ball game. Potvin tripled and scored on Kastner’s single. Kastner went to third on Hiland’s double and scored on Vail’s sacrifice fly. Hiland scored on Stafford’s hard-hit ball to second base and Belton was up 3-0 before the Farmers took their first cuts.
Mejia held Lewisville off the board in the first inning and the Tigers rewarded him with two more runs in the second inning. Quinones singled and scored on Potvin’s single, who drove a 3-0 pitch into right field. Kastner doubled and Hiland’s sacrifice fly scored Potvin to make the score 5-0.
Kaden Brown’s double in the bottom of the third set up Tyrell Shavers’ RBI single to make the score 5-1.
Belton responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Rudy singled, Potvin walked and both were moved up a base on Kastner’s sacrifice bunt and Hiland was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rudy scored on a wild pitch during Vail’s at-bat. Following a ground out, Farmers’ starting pitcher Adam West had a 1-2 count on Stafford. On the next pitch, Stafford checked hit swing and the home plate umpire made no gesture as to whether the pitch was a ball or a strike. Stafford took two steps up the line, assuming the pitch was a strike. Steely Gill, the Lewisville catcher, tagged Stafford out in the assumption of a third strike and the Farmers started to leave the field. Potvin, Hiland and third base coach Mark Krueger, realizing no signal was made, Krueger gave the order to run and set in motion Potvin and Hiland. Potvin scored and Hiland moved up to third. In the confusion, the pitch was ruled a ball and Potvin’s run stood, giving the Tigers a 7-1 lead.
The Tigers took an 8-1 lead in the fifth inning, as Quinones doubled and Rudy drove him in with a single.
Mejia got into a little trouble in the fifth inning after getting the first two Farmers out, allowing a pair of runs and loading the bases. Haines came in, retired Seth Spears to end the inning to keep the damage minimal.
Kastner reached base on a dropped third-strike to start the sixth inning. He stole second base and scored on Hiland’s single to make the score 9-3.
Lewisville scratched out a run in the bottom of the sixth and were retired in order in the seventh, giving the Tigers a five-run win over the Farmers.
Potvin, Kastner, Hiland, Quinones and Rudy all had two-hit games for the Tigers.
Mejia pitched four and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits, walked three and struck out six. Haines pitched two and one-thirds innings in relief, allowing a run on two hits and struck out three.
The Tigers then took on Stony Point in the final game of the day Saturday on Stony’s home diamond.
Haines got the start for Belton and tossed the first three innings, only walking two and surrendering one hit.
Stafford set the table for Belton’s first run with a double and Haines moved in to third on a sacrifice hit. Quinones RBI-single scored Stafford to give Belton a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
Belton scored in the top of the fourth inning. Aaron Krueger singled. Ethan Gilmore, running for Krueger, stole second base. Haines singled home Gilmore to put Belton up 2-0.
Stafford’s clout over the left centerfield wall on a 1-0 offering gave Belton a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth.
Stony rallied for two runs off Hohhertz in the bottom of the sixth as Koby Kelton grounded out, scoring Xavier DeLeon and Derrick Johnson’s double scored Nic Garza. The pair of runs put Stony back to within a run with an inning to go.
Belton was bound and determined to show Stony that the gruesome memory of the 9-3 loss the week before would not be repeated.
Potvin walked, Rudy reach on an error and Hiland bunted his way on for a single to load the bases. Mask and Hohertz each had two-run singles to give Belton a 7-3 lead, giving Kastner breathing room in relief.
Kastner pitched his way out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam to close out the ballgame.
Stafford was 2-of-4 on the night at the plate, scoring twice.
The Tigers will play in the Metroplex this week at the Highland Park Scotland Yard Tournament. They will play Texas Class 6A No. 1/MaxPrep’s Nationally #2 ranked Coppell at Cowboy Field in Coppell Thursday at 4 p.m. The game can be heard on KTEM-AM 1400, KTEMNews.com and on the Radio Pup Application starting at 3:50 p.m.
The tournament will continue at historic Scotland Yard in Highland Park on Friday and Saturday.
The Tigers will play Highland Park at 11 a.m. and Midland at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. They will play Garland Sachse and Lovejoy on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively.
The games can be heard on KLTD-FM 101.7, K1017FM.com and on the Radio Pup App starting a 9:50 a.m. Saturday morning.