By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The opening of the District 12-6A schedule featured the Belton Tigers Baseball team hosting the Killeen Shoemaker Grey Wolves on Tuesday night.
It may not have been the opening inning that Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum envisioned, but it finish that he wanted. After surrendering an opening run to Shoemaker in the first inning, Belton scored 11 runs over the next six innings to mercy rule the Grey Wolves 11-1 at Tiger Field in the first Tigers’ home game of the regular season.
Alton Martin’s game-opening double set up Jose Hernandez’s RBI single with one out in the first inning gave Shoemaker a 1-0 advantage.
Belton broke the game open in the second inning, as Collin Mask hit the first pitch of the inning from Drake Mason in the trees beyond the centerfield wall to tie the game at 1-1.
Mason found himself in more problems in the inning, as he gave up RBI singles to Logan Earl and Brandon Rudy, as well as a two-run double to Hobey Hiland. Belton scored a half-dozen runs in the frame, as the Tigers led 6-1 after two innings.
While the Tigers were getting the offense cranked up, Cameron Whitman set down 11 straight batters. Mixing up a variety of pitches in front of his future Temple College coaches in attendance, Craig McMurtry and Frank Kellner, Whitman was effective after the first inning.
The Tigers put up two runs in the fourth inning, as a pair of walks, a sacrifice fly by Tyler Kastner and an RBI double from Hiland made the score 8-1 after four innings,
Kastner’s two-run triple in the fifth inning scored Rudy and Andrew Kendall, boosting the advantage to 10-1 after five innings.
Mask’s double to the left centerfield gap set up Trent Stafford’s infield single and air-mailed throw to first base by the Shoemaker shortstop, scoring Mask and ending the game in run-rule fashion.
Every Tiger in the starting lineup reached base, as Rudy scored three runs and Mask and Breck Potvin each scored two runs.
The Tigers collected 10 hits and left just four runners on base.
Whitman pitched five and two-thirds of an inning, allowing one run on three hits, striking out 11 Grey Wolves and walking just one. Tanner Frick came on in relief, allowing one hit and striking out a batter in a third of an inning.
“I was satisfied with the team’s performance in innings two through five,” Cornblum said. “We have to overcome the slow starts in the first inning. Our defense was solid collectively and didn’t make any errors, which I am excited about. The team swung the bats tonight and got the job done.”
The Tigers will travel to Copperas Cove on Friday evening to take on the Bulldawgs at Dawgs Field at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KTEM-AM 1400, KTEMNews.com and on the Radio Pup Application starting at 6:50 p.m.