BELTON — Jared Janczak had what the Harker Heights pitching staff lacked Thursday night: Control.
Janczak was part of a team one-hitter, while the Knights walked 12 batters to give the Tigers plenty of offensive opportunities in a one-sided, 17-1 Belton victory at Tiger Field.
Janczak (4-1) pitched the first four innings of the five-inning game and was nearly flawless. He had eight strikeouts with one walk and did not allow a hit until Tyler Torres led off the fourth with a single to right.
Belton (13-10-1, 7-1 8-5A) maintained at least a share of the 8-5A lead with Midway. Harker Heights (10-10, 4-4) extended a three-game losing streak that has sent the Knights from within striking distance of the district leaders into a third-place tie with Shoemaker.
The Tigers, coming off a 6-5 loss to Waco Midway last Thursday, got all the offense they needed in the first inning with five runs, capped by a two-run homer to left by Chase Sortor, the only extra-base hit of the game. Cameron Cooper and Janczak led off the inning with walks, then Cooper scored on a throwing error off a sacrifice bunt by Juan Lagunas. Janczak scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Walker Winders and Lagunas came home on an infield single by Chase Cryer.
Belton added three more runs in the second, two off bases-loaded walks by Lagunas and Winders. Harker Heights freshman pitcher Torres (3-3) allowed seven earned runs, five hits and two walks over one inning with no strikeouts.
“Their freshman (Torres) will be a very good pitcher, but we were able to lay off his breaking ball,” Belton coach Eddie Cornblum said. “Our guys did a very good job in finding good pitches to hit when they came.”
Belton extended its lead to 10-0 in the third inning thanks to an RBI groundout by Janczak and a bases-loaded walk by Winders. Winders did not have an official at-bat, but finished with three RBIs.
Harker Heights prevented a run-rule defeat temporarily in fourth inning on a RBI groundout by Kyle Randall, but Belton scored seven runs in the bottom of the inning as the Tigers’ first 10 batters reached base.