A strong southern breeze could be a good weather omen for Belton’s baseball team in the future because the Tigers showed Friday they could play in it, especially Tanner Frick and Joey Hogan.
Frick showed he could pitch with the wind, and Hogan hit against it.
Frick threw a no-hitter, and Hogan hit two home runs as Belton crushed Killeen Ellison 10-0 in five innings in a District 8-5A game at Eagles Baseball Field.
Frick (2-0) combined a curveball that broke late with good velocity for nine strikeouts. The sophomore lefty also had excellent control with no walks.
Frick had just one mistake. He hit Sam Weston with a pitch in the fourth inning that prevented a perfect game. Frick and his error-free defense did not allow a ball out of the infield, with shortstop Walker Winders making a running grab to deny Angelo Rodriguez a hit in the second inning.
“I’ve never thrown a no-hitter ... maybe I did in little league,” Frick said. “I just felt how the wind was in the first couple pitches and made an adjustment with my release.”
Belton (11-7, 2-0 8-5A) got all the offense it needed with three runs in the first inning. After Coby Potvin and Mark Herrington drew walks, Potvin came home on a Winders single to right-center. Chase Cryer followed with a two-run double to right-center.
Hogan took care of most of the production the rest of the way. He smacked a three-run homer to left to spark a four-run third and hit a solo shot in the fourth of similar length and direction.
“I was just trying to hit the ball up the middle,” he said.
“When I try to hit it up the middle, my swing stays together. I felt the first one was gone when I hit it. I didn’t know about the second one.”
The Tigers finished with 11 hits with Cryer and Trent Stafford collecting two doubles each. Potvin also had two hits, including an RBI single in the third. The Tigers also had six walks, four that turned into runs.
“I liked how we had patience at the plate with walks,” Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum said. “With the defense we played and how Tanner pitched, it was a good team win.”
The Eagles (2-13, 0-2) have endured a tough opening stretch to its district schedule. In their first two games, they were outscored 21-1 by Hewitt Midway and Belton, last year’s league co-champions.
A.J. Frescatore (0-2) took the loss.
A silver lining for Ellison was a defense that did not have an error after making three against Midway on Tuesday. Ellison head coach Ty Oppermann credited adjustments his team has made, especially Weston moving from third to short.
“I think tonight is a good example of why we need to take control with our bats. (Frick) got the fastball in early and when he comes back with a good breaking ball, he takes control,” Oppermann said. “I think the defense got a lot better tonight. Our defense cleaned some things up.”
Belton hosts rival Temple on Tuesday while Ellison plays at Harker Heights.