COPPERAS COVE — Sidney Holman did not feel like herself before the game started.
A trip to the circle, however, was the perfect medicine.
Suffering from a chest cold, Belton’s freshman pitcher gave up a leadoff single against Copperas Cove, but quickly recovered, throwing a complete-game victory as the Lady Tigers defeated the Lady Bulldawgs 5-2.
After the game, Holman admitted once she was on the rubber, everything began coming together for her.
“I’m a little under the weather,” she said, “but I feel like I pulled it off in the end and everything was working tonight. I felt pretty good (once I got going). I was a little tensed up in the beginning, but I loosened up towards the end because I felt my defense behind me.”
Holman allowed five hits, but recorded six strikeouts, including the final out of the game when the Lady Bulldawgs were threatening with runners on second and third base. Despite getting on base repeatedly, Copperas Cove could not capitalize, stranding 11 runners, with five left sitting on third base.
“That is the inexperience this team has compared to the experience Belton has,” Copperas Cove coach Shelly Hayes said. “Our kids have at least started hitting and were on. Now, they need to learn to get the hits when they are in a pressure situation and get those runs across.”
The Lady Dawgs were climbing out of a hole from their first at bat after a series of first-inning errors led to a pair of runs for Belton. Tiffany Beaver and Alex Wilson both scored in the top of the first as Cove center fielder Elliana Doubleday misplayed a ball hit to the wall by Alyson Bishoff.
The score held until the fourth inning, when Kaitlyn Dunahoo’s RBI single scored Bishoff and courtesy runner Makayla Hernandez, who was in for Holman after she reached on a fielder’s choice, crossed home plate one batter later.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Lady Dawgs finally responded as Irene Espinoza’s RBI triple scored Destiny Henderson, but Cove could not get any closer.
In the top of the sixth inning, Bekah Alcozer delivered a solo home run over the left-field fence to put Belton (16-11, 9-2 8-5A) ahead 5-1 before Ashley Hartwell replaced Cove starting pitcher Carlee Duran and struck out three of the next four batters.
“I hit it, and I know that sound, now,” said Alcozer, who was 2 for 3. “It is just that pure sound whenever it comes off the bat right. I knew it was gone whenever I hit it.”
Copperas Cove (16-14, 6-5) attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh, but, once again, struggled to score runs.
Lady Dawgs catcher Sydney Andrews scored when Holman walked Henderson with the bases loaded, but Belton turned a double play and Holman threw a strikeout to end the game with two runners in scoring position.