The Belton Tigers traveled northward to Waco ISD Stadium’s Veterans #1 Field take on the Grand Prairie for a non-district matchup last Saturday afternoon.
B.P. White’s three-run double in the bottom of the third inning and Coby Potvin’s two-run triple in the fifth inning provided the big hits that gave the Tigers an 8-3 win over the Gophers.
Trent Stafford got the start for the Tigers and gave up a leadoff hit to Ty Staton. Stafford buckled down and retired the next three Gophers that came to the plate.
The Tigers nearly scratched out a run in the first inning, as a walk and hit by pitch were cancelled out by two fielders’ choice plays.
Stafford got a beautiful backhanded grab at third base by Hobey Hiland on a Richard Walker liner, reminiscent of former Tiger third sacker Mark Herrington, and flung the ball across the diamond to Chase Sortor at first base base getting Walker by a step. It was a grab that impressed all in attendance, including Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum.
“Hobey has been getting done at third this season for us,” Cornblum said. “That was an impressive grab down the line.”
The momentum carried them through the top of the second and into the bottom of frame. Collin Mask and Dustin Tish each singled and Potvin walked to load the bases with two outs. Quinones hit a shot up the middle than Ethan Odom made a good play moving to his left and forced on Potvin at second base to end the inning.
Following Stafford retiring the Grand Prairie side in order, Nathan Vail singled to start the third inning. Hiland sacrificed Vail to second, setting up Sortor’s line-shot double down the left-field line that scored Vail. Mask and Tish each hit into fielder’s choices that the Gophers were unable to convert into outs. White hit a blast into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Sortor, Mask and Tish to make the score 4-0.
Aaron Reed came on to relieve Stafford in the fourth. Jay Puente walked and scored on Alex Garcia’s double to put the Gophers on the board.
Belton and Grand Prairie put up scoreless innings before the Tigers got to reliever Brian Branch. Mask struck out, but reached on a dropped third strike to start the rally. With two outs, Brandon Rudy’s pop up on the infield dropped between three fielders behind the pitcher’s mound. Potvin capitalized by ripping a two-run triple, plating Mask and Reynolds. Quinones liner to shortstop was bobbled by Odom, scoring Potvin to make the score 7-1. Vail’s single and a bobbled ball at third base scored Quinones to give the Tigers a seven-run lead.
Reed allowed two walks and a single in the top of the sixth after striking out the side in the fifth, scoring Arturo Torres to make the score 8-2.
Austin Villareal and White walked and each stole a base, but were stranded at second and third.
Tanner Frick relieved Reed in the top of the seventh inning. Odom singled. Staton struck out, Torres grounded out to Mark Reynolds at second base and Odom scored on an error to make the score 8-3. Frick retired Walker to end the game.
The win made it for wins in a row for Belton, who have Killeen Ellison on Wednesday in a post-press time matchup and Waco Midway on Thursday.
“This is a big win, one that we needed and our fourth in a row,” Cornblum said. “Trent pitched great today and Aaron and Tanner got in good work. We hit the ball well, with B.P. And Coby getting the big hits. This was an impressive win.”
The win gives the Tigers a boost into the back part of the first round in District 12-6A play.