WACO — At 9 a.m. Friday, Bekah Alcozer was in the process of placing seventh in the discus in the Region I-5A track and field meet in Lubbock.
Twelve hours later, Belton’s sophomore slugger delivered a monster three-run home run in the fifth inning to give freshman pitcher Sidney Holman more than enough breathing room as the Lady Tigers blanked South Grand Prairie 4-0 in a bi-district playoff game at the Waco ISD Complex.
Holman fired a two-hitter with a career-high 14 strikeouts to keep the Lady Warriors from mounting any serious attacks. Belton (20-11) moves on to meet the winner of the series between No. 9-ranked Flower Mound and Grapevine in next week’s area round. South Grand Prairie finished 18-12.
Alcozer arrived in Waco at 6:15 p.m., shortly after her teammates had taken some early swings. She was no worse for wear after the long trip.
“I got a lot of rest on the way back,” she said.
Alcozer crushed a 3-1 pitch from Shelby Alexander for her seventh round-tripper of the year to break open a tight 1-0 game. Kirsten Whiteside and Tiffany Beaver led off the fifth with infield singles and Alyson Bishoff reached on a fielder’s choice to keep runners at first and second with two outs. Alcozer then went far beyond the left-center fence to score Beaver and pinch runner Kaitlyn Jones.
“She kept pitching me inside and everybody else outside,” Alcozer said. “Somehow she knew I like them outside. She just hung one over the middle.”
Belton coach Matt Blackburn expected Alcozer to go deep at some point.
“She usually starts slow, but she scorched one to the shortstop her first time up,” he said. “I had a funny feeling she was going to come up big later.”
Holman came up big throughout, even after a slightly shaky start of walking and giving up a hit to the first two batters of the game.
“I was kind of stopping my arm a little and just rolling up there (early),” she said. “My breaking pitches started working pretty well and I was pleased with that.”
Holman (17-7) finished strong, striking out the final five batters she faced.
Belton got on the board with a run in the third. Whiteside led off by beating out a dribbler to third and stole second. Alex Wilson served a one-out single to right to bring in Whiteside.
The Lady Tigers collected six hits against Alexander. It was a spotty offensive output for Blackburn’s taste, knowing there’s a good chance his team could meet a difficult Flower Mound team next week.
“We didn’t put a bat on the ball nearly enough,” he said. “We left a lot of runners on base and swung at poor pitches. We’re probably going to play the No. 9 team in state and we’re going to have to get a lot more focused at the plate.”