Dylan Blomquist is just a sophomore, but he didn’t look like one Tuesday night.
The Belton left-hander entered the game at pitcher in the bottom of the second inning in a big District 8-6A tilt at Ellison and was lights out. Blomquist held the Eagles hitless the rest of the way while walking one and striking out nine, and the Tigers captured a 7-5 victory.
“He’s been doing that all year,” Belton head coach Mark Krueger said. “We expect big things from Dylan. He came out and did great tonight.
“We talk about a one-pitch pitcher, a two-pitch pitcher and a three-pitch pitcher, and you just get better and better. He had three pitches going tonight, and he was highly effective.”
Blomquist had excellent command with his fastball, curveball and changeup, and he executed the game plan his team had on the mound entering the contest.
“From warming up to taking the mound, I felt good,” Blomquist said. “I just happened to go out there and pitch well for my team. Luckily, I did good tonight.
“We haven’t done too well on the road this year, but this win was good for us and gets us closer to the playoffs.”
With their triumph over Ellison, the Tigers (11-13, 6-5 8-6A) captured sole possession of the league’s fourth seed with three games left. The Eagles (11-14-1, 5-6) will have a chance to knot it back up for the final playoff spot at Belton on Friday at 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s game had the making of a high-scoring affair early on. The Tigers jumped on Ellison with four runs in the top of the second.
Caleb Smith doubled on a line drive to right-center field to score Aaron Krueger and kick off the scoring for Belton. Later in the inning, Breck Potvin turned on the first pitch he saw and launched a three-run home run to right field to put the Tigers up 4-0.
But the Eagles immediately responded in the home half of the second.
William Tunstall doubled on a line drive to center, scoring Kenneth Rodriguez from second base.
With the bases loaded just two batters later, Ty Hill cleared the bases with a three-run triple to right-center to tie the contest at 4-4.
Ellison then took a 5-4 lead, as Garet Douglas doubled to deep right to score Hill.
“That was great to see, especially out of the bottom half of our order,” Eagles head coach Ty Oppermann said. “Ty is starting to come on, and it was great to see them crawl back in it and fight instead of putting their heads down. They’ve learned to fight a little bit more, and I wish we would’ve done a little bit more toward the end of the game, but they’re not letting things just happen to them.
“They’re trying to fight their way back out of it, and they did great coming back in, going right back in there and getting on top.”
That is when Blomquist took the hill, however, and it was the end of the line offensively for Ellison.
“Dylan came in for them and did a great job of just hitting his spots and staying on that edge of the plate,” Oppermann said. “We struggled to adjust to that, and they executed in the last few innings to put those runs up and we failed to execute. Credit to them, they beat us in the last two innings and deserved to win.”
In the top of the fifth, Belton tied the game on an RBI single to left by Payton Vybiral.
The Tigers recaptured the lead in the sixth on a fielder’s choice groundout by Logan Earl, and John Taggart added some insurance in the top of the seventh with an RBI single to center to put Belton up by two.
Krueger was proud of the way the Tigers responded after giving up five runs in the second.
“We always want to answer when a team puts up five in an inning,” he said. “We want to answer that next inning, and we didn’t. We scratched across a run each inning after that, and it helped us and ended up being the difference, but I would’ve liked to have answered that very next inning.”
Vybiral was 2 for 4 for the Tigers at the plate, while Smith went 2 for 3 with a run scored and Earl was 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Preston Mills took the loss for Ellison. He threw six innings and allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts.