By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Tigers traveled to Killeen on Tuesday afternoon to take on the Shoemaker in search of a win to start off their District 12-6A schedule.
Cameron Whitman overcame a tough start where he allowed three runs before the Tigers could get an out in the first and struck out nine batters en route to a 5-3 win.
The Tigers improved their record to 3-7 overall and 1-0 in District 12-6A, with their home opener against Copperas Cove at Tiger Field coming up Friday night at 7 p.m.
Whitman pitched his way out of the jam in the first with a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the first inning.
Trent Stafford was hit by a pitch to begin the second inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Stafford attempted to steal third and was out on a bang-bang play. Belton took the lead in the top of the third inning. Hobey Hiland doubled to the right-centerfield gap. Reese Hohhertz walked and Collin Mask was inserted as a courtesy runner. Brandon Rudy singled and advanced to second on an error, scoring Hiland and Mask. Potvin singled in Rudy and advanced to second base on an error. Miguel Quinones singled in Potvin to make the score 4-3. Whitman retired 18 of the last 21 batters faced, getting an insurance run in the seventh inning.
“Very pleased with Cameron’s outing,” Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum said. “It took him a bit to get going, but he came on and did a good job.”
“I was able to make an adjustment after coach talked to be after the first inning,” Whitman said. “I was to settle in and pitched well.”
Tigers learn lots of lessons at Scotland Yard Classic
The Belton Tigers’ baseball team traveled to the Dallas-area last weekend to take part in the Scotland Yard Classic, held at several different venues in the area.
The first day of the tournament was spent at the new Prosper Eagles’ baseball field, designed with the same dimensions and design reminiscent Boston’s Fenway Park.
Belton sent Tanner Frick to the hill to start the tournament and he did not disappoint the fans and several scouts in attendance. He struck out four batters and got plenty of great defensive help, with excellent stretch plays at first base by Chase Sortor and great turned double play by Miguel Quinones, Nathan Santiago and Sortor.
The Tigers drew first blood in the second inning, as Shane Stafford singled and scored on Hobey Hiland’s double.
Aaron Pierce tripled and Chad Hardy’s sacrifice fly tied the score at 1-1.
The Eagles squeezed out a run in the sixth, as Kyler Morris doubled, Nolan Pratt was hit by a pitch and Steele Walker’s grounder scored Morris to give Prosper a 2-1 lead. The Tigers were unable to score in the top of the seventh, dropping the game to Prosper 2-1.
Belton went right back to work against Fort Smith (Ark.) Southside in the nightcap. Cameron Whitman got the start and pitched well, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out eight Rebels and walking none over six innings. Ethan Williams pitched an inning in relief and struck out one.
Ft. Smith scored on a double and single in the third inning and two runs on triple in the fifth inning.
The Tigers rallied in the sixth inning to put them back to within a run, as Hiland singled, Jacob Alexander knocked Hiland home with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout to third by Trent Stafford. Belton could not rally and dropped their second close game of the day, 3-2.
Friday started with a rainy, 10 a.m. game against Highland Park at legendary Scotland Yard. Unable to capitalize in the top of the first inning, Belton fell behind 1-0 as John Skidmore hit an opposite field home run to right field for the Scots.
Belton answered Skidmore’s shot will a 400-foot, centerfield blast from Sortor to tie the game. The rains started to pick up and the Scots took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second. Following the end of the third inning, Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum and Highland Park head coach Fred Oliver agreed to delay the game and see if the weather broke. The game was cancelled an hour later and the Tigers played later that evening again at Scotland Yard against Midland.
Dustin Tish got the start and worked his way out of first and second inning jams. In the third inning, Midland sent nine batters to the plate and pushed across three runs to take a 3-0 lead.
Aaron Reed took over for Tish in the fifth inning and struck out three batters before the Bulldogs stepped into three pitches and walked once to score a run in the sixth inning. Williams came on to close out the Bulldogs in the seventh.
Belton’s biggest threat came in the bottom of the seventh, as B.P. White reached on an infield single, Sortor walked and Xavier Haines walked with two outs to load the bases. But the Tigers grounded out to end the ballgame.