BELTON — It has been a rare night when a District 8-5A team not named Temple or Waco Midway pushes the Belton Lady Tigers to a two-hour, seven-inning game.
There was little doubt about the ultimate outcome, but Belton found a challenge for a time before coming away with a 10-1 victory over Ellison on Tuesday night at Lady Tiger Field.
“Maybe we needed a game to expose our weaknesses and at least practice some things,” Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. “Obviously, we need to work on some baserunning in game situations. Sometimes it’s good to have a bad game.”
Although it wasn’t their sharpest performance, the district-leading Lady Tigers (17-8, 9-0) still cranked out 11 hits and got two-hit pitching from Sidney Holman (16-7), who struck out 11 and walked three.
“It’s hard to find positives, but we still hit the ball hard,” Blackburn said. “A win’s a win and we’ll take it any way it comes in district.”
It was the only 8-5A game on tap, having been postponed from last Friday because of weather.
Alyson Bishoff’s two-run home run in the first inning put Belton on the board early and was the the Lady Tigers’ 25th homer of the season, just three shy of the school record set in 2011. Bishoff crushed the first offering from Felicia Camargo, driving a liner over the center-field wall with two outs.
“I think everybody in the world knows I like it either way inside or way outside,” said Bishoff, a senior first baseman committed to Abilene Christian. “She missed over the middle and inside. I just wanted to hit it hard whether or not it was a home run.”
The runs didn’t come flooding in immediately. The Lady Tigers added one in the third to go up 3-0. Makayla Hernandez led off by legging out a double and was singled home by Skylar Stewart. Belton left the bases loaded.
Two runs in the fourth made it 5-0. Holman led off with a double off the center-field wall, and Brittany Bass singled in courtesy-runner Sydney Andrews with two outs. Bekah Alcozer followed with a double to bring in Bass.
It was an emotional night for Alcozer as her mother, Rebecca — a cancer survivor — threw out the first pitch in a game honoring those who have been struck with breast cancer. The elder Alcozer was declared cancer-free in January.
“It was emotional and it was a great moment for her,” said the younger Alcozer, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. “They asked her to do that a while back. It was a good way to celebrate overcoming six months that were rough.”
Ellison picked up a run in the fifth as Sidney Clemente bunted home Taryn Frescatore from third.
Belton came up with five in the sixth, propelled by two-run singles from Alcozer and Stewart, who went 3 for 4 with three RBIs.
“That was a good game to get out of our system,” said Blackburn, whose team made three errors and will travel to face rival Temple on Friday.
“It’s a chance to get the team refocused. We can’t play like that against Temple.”