By Nick Talbot
Harker Heights Herald
BELTON - With a chance to lock up at least a share of the District 12-5A crown, Allison Boston knew she needed to be on her game.
Instead, the Belton senior ace was better. She was nearly perfect.
Striking out a season-high 16 batters, Boston sent down the first 19 Copperas Cove batters in order before allowing a pair of singles in the bottom of the seventh in a 7-0 victory Tuesday to claim at least a piece of the district title.
"Boston pitched arguably her best game tonight," Belton coach Matt Blackburn said. "To see her pick up 16 strikeouts tonight was pretty unbelievable."
The first-place Lady Tigers (23-7, 11-2), who have won eight straight since suffering first-round losses to A&M Consolidated and Temple, must now beat district cellar-dweller Ellison today to win the title outright.
Going with the same exact pitch sequence through the first six innings - screwball inside, riseball, curve ball, screwball - Boston only allowed Cove to put five balls into play the entire game, the first four resulting in easy pop-ups.
On the other hand, Belton struck for four runs in the top of the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Alex Wilson and Amber Peters and a two-run home run by Annie Bridges. Peters, who finished 2-for-3, also added a two-run double in the second to plate a quick 6-0 lead.
Belton 6, A&M Consolidated 3 - At Belton, Allison Boston struck out five, scattered seven hits and only gave up one earned run Friday as the No. 24 Lady Tigers avenged an earlier loss A&M Consolidated.
"It feels awesome and is pretty exciting (to be in first)," said Boston, who improved her record to 18-4. "I feel like we are back to where we should be and back to how we should have been playing in the first place."
Amber Peters started a six-run second inning with a double and scored on an Annie Bridgers' single before Kristi Moose hit a two-run double, Talya Bishoff had an RBI single and Kirsten Whiteside and Billi Farr emptied the bases with a pair of RBI groundouts.
Temple 19, Harker Heights 1, 4 inn. - At Harker Heights, the Tem-Cats cored 14 runs in the first inning as they run-ruled the Lady Knights on Tuesday. Harley Fine had the only hit for Harker Heights (8-21, 2-11 12-5A) and scored their lone run. Elisa Espinoza hit a three-run homer and Kaegan Jimenez hit a grand slam for Temple (19-12, 10-3).
Bryan 13, Harker Heights 3, 5 inn. - At Bryan, the visiting Lady Knights scored two runs in the top of the first inning Friday, but Bryan answered with four runs in each of the first two innings, then again in the fourth. The Lady Knights totaled six hits, including doubles from Courtney Luedecking, Christina Hagey and Ashlyn Osborne. Hagey drove in a run, while Britney Hawkins drove in a pair.
Taylor 2, Salado 1 - At Salado, the Lady Ducks rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to hand Salado a crippling loss in the 25-3A playoff race Tuesday.
The Lady Eagles (14-12, 3-6 25-3A), who were held to four singles, grabbed an early lead when Camryn Bintz singled and later scored on an error.
Salado 2, Lampasas 1 - At Salado, Sheyenne Hicks hit a bases-clearing two-run double to score Jenna Franz and Camryn Bintz as the Lady Eagles answered a sixth-inning Lampasas run with two of their own Friday.