BELTON — Caleigh Robinson had already made quite an impression in the first inning of Belton’s offensive onslaught, but the senior had the opportunity to achieve more.
The Lady Tigers had scored 15 runs and were on their third trip through the lineup in the first when Robinson came to bat with a grand slam already in her stat line. Much like her previous at-bat, Robinson stepped into the box with the bases loaded.
“I really wasn’t thinking about hitting another home run. I just really wanted to make contact,” Robinson said.
The senior didn’t clear the fences for a second grand slam, but her fly ball was dropped by a Killeen outfielder, allowing three more runners to come home in Belton’s 18-run first inning that paved the way for a 26-2, four-inning victory Saturday afternoon.
Robinson finished 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and five RBIs for Belton (16-10, 5-0 District 12-6A), which routed Killeen (0-5 in district) after defeating Temple 21-0 on Tuesday. Miranda Davila went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, Paige Nunes registered three doubles and a pair of RBIs and Payton Cook drove in three runs while going 2-for-4 with a double.
The Lady Tigers added six runs in the second inning and two in the third.
“It’s really good when we’re showing patience at the plate. That’s something we’ve been preaching all year long,” Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. “Going into this season, we started analyzing the losses we had last year and found that our losses were usually a result of us not being patient. We’re trying to be more patient because it will benefit us the later games go.”
Belton didn’t have to wait long to establish a sizeable lead. Consecutive doubles by Davila, Robinson and Nunes were followed by an outfield error and doubles from Cook and Izzy Gutierrez to make it 7-0.
Avery Drake walked in her second plate appearance of the inning and Davila reached on a bunt single to load the bases for Robinson, who sent a pitch from Alexa Herrera-Powell over the right field wall for a grand slam and an 11-0 lead.
“I just kind of swung at the pitch. It doesn’t really make sense looking back. But in the moment, it felt good off the bat and you know you got it,” Robinson said. “I don’t feel a lot of pressure (when the bases are loaded). I know that my teammates are behind me to pick me up if I can’t get the job done.”
The first-inning bombardment continued when Madison Ward drove in Nunes with a double, another run scored on an outfield error, and Gutierrez plated Cook with a double before a trio of Lady Tigers runners scored on Robinson’s fly ball. Belton recorded 15 of its 20 hits in the first inning and had just one extra-base hit the rest of the way.
“You’re playing the No. 1 team in the district. I mean look at what they’ve done against the other teams,” said Killeen head coach Randy James, referencing Belton’s 75-3 district scoring margin. “We’ve got four seniors on this team, so we’re young and we have a lot of injuries.”
Madison Cotton went the distance in the circle for Belton and allowed two runs on two hits while striking out five and walking two. Killeen’s Ashley Treese singled before Avalyn James hit a two-run homer that made it 24-2 in the top of the third.
“I’ve got three pitchers right now in a rotation that know exactly when they’re going to throw,” Blackburn said. “It’s been good for them because they can get mentally ready for their next opponent and hopefully it will get them ready to go at least seven innings once the playoffs get here.”
- Belton 26, Killeen 2, 4 innings
- Shoemaker 10, Waco 0, 5 innings
- Temple 26, Ellison 5, 4 innings
- Waco Midway 16, Harker Heights 1, 5 innings