By Alex Byington
and Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
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 Ellison on Friday 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.
Temple 12, Copperas Cove 2 (April 15) - At Copperas Cove, the Lady Bulldawgs could manage just one hit off Tem-Cat starting pitcher Lexi Smith, who struck out 10.
Cove scored on a fourth-inning home run from Irene Espinoza, who drove in Brianna Sinclair, who reached on a walk.
Temple had a six-run fourth inning and a three-run fifth.
No. 6 A&M Consolidated 22, Copperas Cove 2, 5 inn. (Tuesday) - At Copperas Cove, the sixth-ranked Tigers (23-4, 11-1 12-5A) scored seven runs in the first inning and rolled from there, leading 17-2 before blanking the Dawgs (7-19, 1-11) in the final two innings.
Bryan 11, Copperas Cove 1, 5 inn. (April 15) - At Bryan, Chris Burroughs went 2-for-3, singling home Austin Greene (2-for-3) in the third inning for Cove's lone run.
The Bulldawgs finished with eight hits, with Ty Johnson and Israel Riley each walking to go with a single.
Bryan had 11 hits.