By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Belton’s daunting schedule has been a documented fact in the media in 2016.
The Tigers first tournament foray of the season found them in Round Rock for the three-day Security Services Federal Credit Union 2016 Hardball Classic.
Belton upset the Texas High School Baseball’s Class 6A No. 2 ranked Round Rock Dragons at Dragon Diamond 11-8 Thursday afternoon, took a tough loss at Stony Point 9-3, won 5-3 over Cedar Ridge back at Dragon Diamond and fell to Midland in Leander 7-2.
Against the Dragons, Belton jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Breck Potvin and Xavier Haines singled. Following two outs, Trent Stafford was hit by a pitch and Nathan Vail lined a 1-0 pitch down the left field line into the corner for a bases-clearing double. Collin Mask singled in Vail to complete the inning.
Round Rock chipped away at Stafford, who drew the start for Tigers. They picked up two runs in the first, a run in the second and three runs in the third to take a 6-4 lead.
Miguel Quinones, Trey Bell and Potvin singled in succession in the top of the fourth inning to load the bases. Hobey Hiland hit a two-run single to the right centerfield gap to tie the score at 6-6.
Stafford finished the fourth inning and pitched to a batter in the fifth before giving way to Shane Mejia. The Tigers picked up four runs in the top of the sixth. With one out, Potvin walked, Haines was hit by a pitch, Hiland singled to load the bases and Reese Hohhertz lined shot off of the centerfield wall for a bases-clearing double make the score 10-6 Belton.
The Dragons scored a run to make the score 10-7 and Potvin scored Quinones on an RBI groundout to increase the score to 11-7. Round Rock scored one more run, but couldn’t draw even, as the Tigers pulled the upset.
Vail had four RBIs, Hohhertz drove home three and Hiland drove in a pair.
Mejia got credit for the win in his three innings of relief.
Belton traveled to Stony Point in a battle of the Tigers on Thursday night. Cameron Whitman drew the start and pitched well early. But Belton committed six crucial errors and it gave the opportunistic Stony Pointers several opportunities that they took advantage of.
Stony Point scored in the second and third innings. Tyler Kastner’s two-run double scored Hiland and Stafford to tie the score at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Stony Point scored once in the fourth and then worked Whitman and Haines for six runs in the fifth inning. Belton could not recover and Stony Point won by six innings.
Jake McRoberts picked up the win for Stony Point, allowing just five hits, walking three and striking out five.
Whitman went four innings, allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits, struck out four and walked one. Haines pitched two innings in relief, allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, struck out one and walked one.
The Tigers went back to Dragon Diamond on Friday morning to take on Round Rock Cedar Ridge. Remington Lutz got his first varsity start and was shaky in the beginning, allowing a two-run triple to Jacob Mead and an RBI single to Peyton Becker.
Belton answered in the bottom of the third when Quinones singled, Brandon Rudy sacrificed him to second and Potvin singled him home to get the Tigers to within two runs at 3-1.
Lutz continued to mow down the Raiders, picking up five strikeouts along the way.
The Tigers evened the score in the fifth inning, as Potvin singled, was sacrificed to second by Bell, Hiland singled Potvin to third, Vail sacrifice fly scored Potvin and Stafford’s triple scored Hiland to tie the score at 3-3.
Belton took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning as Rudy singled, Potvin doubled for his fourth hit of the game, an error on a Bell chopper scored Rudy and Hiland singled in Potvin to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
After surrendering a seventh inning leadoff single to Sam Campos, Lutz retired the next three hitters for his first varsity win on the bump, giving up just three runs on four hits, walking two and striking out five.
Hayden King took the loss for the Raiders, allowing five runs (three earned) on 11 hits, walking one and striking out three.
Belton wrapped the second day of play taking on Midland at Lions Field and Leander.
The Tigers struggled against the Bulldogs, scoring five runs in the first two innings off of the starting pitcher Mejia. Mask drilled a two-run homer off of Midland starter Jackson Anuszkiewicz in the second inning to make the score 5-2. Three Belton errors hampered the Tigers’ efforts to get back into the ballgame, allowing a pair of unearned runs and they just couldn’t recover.
Mejia went 1 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits, walked two and struck out two. Kastner pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits, struck out seven and walked four. Haines pitched an inning, gave up one run on one hit, struck out two and walked one.
The Belton Tigers rounded out there 2016 Security Services Federal Credit Union Round Rock Hardball Classic stay with a game at McNeil High School’s Maverick Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Tigers, who have gone 2-2 in the tournament, jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning and went down four runs by the end of the second inning. But Collin Mask had three hits and five runs batted in and helped the Tigers in a seven-run, seventh-inning rally to break a 6-6 tie and give Belton a 13-6 win.
Belton moved their record to 3-2 on the season and will return to Round Rock to play in the Langerhans-Bratcher Tournament. The Tigers will play at Dragon Diamond against Humble Kingwood Park at 4 p.m. Thursday, play Keller Fossil Ridge at Westwood High School at 4 p.m. Friday, will play Westwood immediately after the Fossil Ridge game, will play Lewisville at Stony Point Saturday at 10 a.m. and stay and play Stony Point at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Lewisville game will be broadcast at KTEM-AM 1400 starting at 9:50 a.m. next Saturday morning.
Tyler Kastner started the ball game with a single and scored on Mask’s double. Mask scored on Reese Hohhertz’s RBI single to make the score 2-0.
Hobey Hiland got the start for the Tigers and didn’t fare well in his first varsity start on the hill. Matt Wright, Kyle Henke and Cam Davis all scored in the first inning to give McNeil a 3-2 lead.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases before Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum made a pitching change and went with Cameron Whitman with no outs in the second inning. Davis singled home two runs and Ryan Keesee singled home another to give the Mavericks a 6-2 lead.
Belton started to make their move in the fourth inning. With one out, Kastner singled and Hiland was hit by a pitch. Mask drilled a 1-0 pitch into the left centerfield gap for a two-run double and the deficit was split in half from four runs to a pair, 6-4.
While Whitman continued to break the Mavericks, the Belton offense tied the ballgame in the top of the sixth inning. Mask reached base on a fielder’s choice and Whitman walked. Aaron Krueger singled in Mask and pinch-hitter Breck Potvin singled home Whitman to tie the game at 6-6.
After Whitman retired the side in order, Belton sent 12 men to the plate in the top of the seventh inning. With Wright in the ball game in relief, Miguel Quinones sharply singled to center. Kastner singled for the fourth time in the game and Haines was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hiland singled in Quinones and Kastner, while Mask doubled Haines and Hiland to give the Tigers a 10-6 advantage. Krueger walked, forcing a Mavericks’ pitching change to Beck Salgado. He gave up a walk to Potvin, an infield RBI single to Tyler Rhea and a two-run single to Quinones to give Belton a 13-6 lead.
The Mavericks put a couple of runners on base, but they couldn’t push them across, as the Tigers won by seven runs.
Whitman picked up the victory in relief, scattering five hits in six innings of relief, striking out nine.
Matt Wright drew the loss, giving up six of the seven runs in the seventh inning, pitching just one-third of an inning.
Kastner went 4-of-5, Mask went 3-of-5 with five RBIs. Hiland was 2-of-4 with 2 RBIs and Quinones was 2-of-2 with 2 RBIs. The Tigers out hit McNeil 20-8, while leaving 13 runners on in seven innings.