BELTON — Matt Blackburn let his team keep hitting.
He had to. He knows what is coming up next — Waco Midway.
During yet another run-rule victory Friday, 22-0 over Shoemaker, the Belton coach let his team keep swinging despite taking a 12-0 lead after the first inning.
“I can tell you we can hit,” Blackburn said. “We are going to hit the ball and I am not going to tell them not to hit the ball ... If we get to first, we will step off, but Tuesday we have to bring our A game. In the nine years I have been here, we have only won once (at Midway).
“So, we will see what happens.”
Neither Belton nor Midway tore up its non-district slate. The Lady Tigers were 7-9, after playing top-notch competition from across the state. The Pantherettes were only 8-10. Both teams are 6-0 in 8-5A, though, heading into Tuesday’s game in Waco.
Those winning streaks have come with lopsided after lopsided victory. Midway has outscored its 8-5A foes 73-8. Belton has one-upped that, drilling the competition 83-2 in six games.
“I think these girls are so focused early in the games right now that I think they will be ready to go,” Blackburn said. “They know what is at stake (Tuesday against Midway). I told them if they finish first in district you get the first-place team in the state in the fifth round. If you finish second, you see them in the second round.”
In the final two innings, Belton left base early after getting on, creating automatic outs.
Early on, though, the Lady Tigers put on a hitting clinic.
After a pair of walks and an error, Alex Wilson slapped an RBI single and Bekah Alcozer smashed a two-run triple that hit the base of the center field wall. Another Shoemaker error allowed two more runs to score as Belton went up 6-0.
And it kept coming, pitcher Sidney Holman, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and struck out five, ripped an RBI single into left field. Then Tiffany Beaver and Alyson Bishoff had back-to-back RBI bunt singles and Skylar Stewart singled home Beaver to put Belton up 10-0. Another Lady Grey Wolves error and an sacrifice fly by Alcozer ended the first inning with Belton in front 12-0.
In the second, Belton kept pouring it on. Wilson crushed a bases-clearing triple to the wall and Alcozer took the next pitch out of the ball park. The ball soared well over the right-center field fence to put Belton ahead 18-0.
In the third, Kirsten Whitside had an RBI triple and Makayla Hernandez and Meredith Langford both had RBI singles before Blackburn ordered his team to start stepping off the bag early.
Alex Wilson finished the game on the mound for Belton and struck out five.
“I pulled Sidney a little quick, after around 50 pitches,” Blackburn said. “But we were running out of outs for her to pitch. So, we made the switch and she did great.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569