By Tony Adams

Belton Journal

The Belton Tigers Softball squad hit the diamond on Monday night in preparation for this week’s Class 5A Bi-District playoffs with a tune-up game against Class 3A No. 11 Troy at Lady Tiger Field.

The talented Trojanettes scored in all five innings, which included a five-run third frame as Troy defeated Belton in five innings, 12-1.

Troy scored two runs in the top of the first inning off Belton starting pitcher Reagan Stuart. A sacrifice fly by Kylee Farmer and RBI single by Laney Setzer gave the Trojanettes a 2-0 lead.

Troy starting pitcher Izzy Garcia walked Ramsey Evans-Curran with two outs in the bottom of the first. Garcia induced a groundout to Andalyn Logan to end the inning.

Corona’s two-out double, Garcia’s RBI double, and an error plated another Trojanette run off reliever LucyLiu Gaines-Lucas doubled Troy’s lead to four.

The Trojanettes sent 10 batters to the plate in the third inning. A bases-loaded walk to Jae Jae Phillips, Corona’s hit by pitch forced in a run, Garcia’s sacrifice fly, Farmer’s RBI single, and Setzer’s sacrifice fly gave Troy a 9-0 lead.

Belton cracked into the run and hit columns in the bottom of the third. Iris Molina collected the Tigers’ first hit: a single to left centerfield. Hailey Schutz’s sacrifice bunt moved Molina to second. With two outs, Brysen Gott’s single to right centerfield gave Belton their lone run of the contest.

Hannah Wheeler came on to pitch in the fourth inning for Belton and retired the first two hitters she faced. Phillips singled and Corona homered to give Troy a 10-run lead, 11-1.

Logan singled to start Belton’s half of the fourth and moved to second on a groundout. Stuart singled to center and Logan got the green light to head for the plate by head coach Morgan Birkel. Austin Mensch’s throw was on the money, as Phillips applied the tag on Logan five feet up the line for the second out of the inning. The inning ended moments later on groundout.

Troy added a run on a bases-loaded walk to Maddelyn Welch in the top of the fifth.

The Trojanettes registered eight hits, led by Corona’s 2-of-3 night. Corona, Garcia, Farmer, and Setzer each had two runs batted in.

The Tigers registered four hits, as Gott, Molina, Logan, and Stuart logged singles.

“It was a tough night, but we learned a lot,” Birkel said. “There is a reason we scheduled Troy as a tune-up game. They are well-coached and have plenty of talented players that play up tempo softball and are disciplined at the plate.”

Belton (21-12, 10-4 District 21-5A) bi-district round draw is a tough one, as they will take on No. 19 Montgomery Lake Creek. The defending UIL Class 5A State Champions finished in second place with a 12-2 District 21-5A record and are 28-6 overall.

The one-game playoff will be on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Mumford.

“Anytime that you have a state championship team a year removed from their run, you always take notice on returners,” Birkel said. “They have plenty of talent for us to game plan for. We will have our hands full and will give it our best effort.”