BELTON — While there wasn’t a district championship or a playoff berth on the line Friday night, don’t tell that to the Belton Lady Tigers.
Spoiling Waco Midway’s bid to run the table on District 8-5A opponents, capturing solo second place and getting a major momentum boost for the playoffs were paramount, and the Lady Tigers seized the night.
Freshman Sidney Holman (16-7) pitched a three-hit gem and Bekah Alcozer hit a two-run home run to give Belton a 5-0 victory over Midway in a regular-season finale at Lady Tiger Field.
Belton (19-11 overall, 12-2 district) will meet South Grand Prairie in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs next week at a site and time to be determined. Midway (21-11, 13-1) will play Midlothian, the fourth seed from 7-5A.
The victory avenged Belton’s 1-0 loss in Hewitt last month.
“We had two chances to finish second,” Belton coach Matt Blackburn said, referring to Friday’s game and a potential playoff with Temple the next day. “I told the girls we needed to win because we don’t want to have to play Saturday.”
Holman might have had other games where her statistics were more impressive, but she hasn’t been this efficient before.
“This was one of my best games this year,” said Holman, who struck out seven batters and walked none in the 87-pitch shutout. “I knew my team would back me up.”
It took a few brutal innings before the Lady Tigers at last got to Midway ace Callie Guffey, who mowed down the first nine batters, seven on strikeouts. She fanned 13 Lady Tigers in the first meeting.
“I thought we were going to set a record for strikeouts,” Blackburn said. “We just had to do like we did against Temple and just (bunt). We had to do that. Whatever it was, we were not seeing the ball.”
Kirsten Whiteside and Tiffany Beaver started the fourth inning with bunt singles. Nothing came of them, but it gave the Lady Tigers momentum for a three-run fifth.
Skylar Stewart hit a looper over third base to lead off the fifth. Holman followed with a bunt that the third baseman threw wide of first, allowing pinch runner Makayla Hernandez to score.
Three more Midway errors goosed along the Lady Tigers’ fifth. Whiteside reached on an error that allowed pinch runner Meredith Langford to score. Whiteside scored the third run on a Beaver hit. With the intensity of just getting on the scoreboard out of the way, Alcozer put an exclamation on the game and her long day.
Alcozer, who qualified for the Region I track and field in the discus earlier Friday in the area meet at Midway, obliterated a 1-0 offering from Guffey for a two-run homer to left field. Alcozer’s shot, her sixth of the year, followed a leadoff single by Alyson Bishoff. Alcozer had struck out badly her first two trips to the plate.
“Coach said that we have three runs and that I don’t have to kill it,” said Alcozer, a sophomore designated player. “The pressure was off and I just got a pitch I could hit. I really wasn’t trying to hit it out.”
Holman finished the Pantherettes with a pair of strikeouts and a lazy fly ball to Beaver in right.
“That was one her best games when it comes to hitting her spots,” Blackburn said. “That’s not a bad way to go into the playoffs. We beat the best team in the district. I think we put in a claim for that, though.”