MESQUITE — Maddison Parker smiled wide and repeated the word promise three times to hammer across the fact that she doesn’t attempt to hit home runs.
“I just think about getting on base to help my team out,” Parker said.
A seasoned approach, sure, but it’d be interesting to see how many round-trippers Belton’s junior infielder would collect if she went up to the plate with the sole objective of belting a ball over the fence.
On Friday, intentionally or not, Parker delivered two homers during Game 2 of a Class 6A bi-district best-of-three softball series to set Belton’s single-season record and lead a methodical 12-2 run-rule victory over Mesquite Horn that completed a sweep and advanced the Lady Tigers to the area round in which they’ll face Prosper.
That three-game series begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Baylor’s Getterman Stadium. Game 2 is 6 p.m. Friday, with Game 3 to follow if necessary.
Belton (29-6) scored single runs in the first and second innings, three in the third, two in the fourth and five in the fifth, collecting 12 hits – seven for extra bases – along the way Friday, a night after defeating the Lady Jaguars 14-2 in a victory that was highlighted by a 12-run fourth inning.
“I feel like knowing that we had seen both their pitchers, we knew what they had and were ready to attack,” said Belton catcher Paige Nunes, who went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs.
Parker’s solo home run on the first pitch of the second gave her 12 for the season, passing former Lady Tigers catcher Bethany Edwards for the single-season mark. Parker added a three-run shot in the third that put Belton ahead 5-0.
“Parker had a great game at the plate. She hit the ball hard four times and ended up with two home runs and four RBIs,” Belton coach Matt Blackburn said. “That’s a big night for her, for sure. Super proud of her.”
Caleigh Robinson added a pair of hits and three RBIs for Belton. Madison Ward, Isabelle Gutierrez and Payton Cook added a double each, and Avery Drake had a hit and three runs.
Taylor Tubbs made her first start in the circle for the Lady Tigers in three weeks after having her tonsils removed. She was in the thick of it from the get-go, facing a bases loaded conundrum with no outs in the first. But a pair of strikeouts and a line out ended the threat. Tubbs settled in from there and picked up the win after allowing one run on four hits in four frames.
“That game was big for her, first game coming back. A little rusty, you know, missed a few spots, but a good performance for her just to get out there and compete and get her arm back to where it was,” Blackburn said.
Alyssa Spoerl pitched 3 2/3 innings for the Lady Jaguars (11-13) before being replaced by Game 1 starter Taylor Thompson.
Down 7-0, Elizabeth Mendoza’s RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth got Horn on the board, and the Lady Jaguars tacked on one more in the fifth to create the final margin through Thompson’s sacrifice fly off relief pitcher Hannah Kelley.
And after a series in which is team outscored the opponent 26-4, the ever-meticulous Blackburn quickly gave his squad some homework as it braces for its chance to move past the area round for the first time since 2016’s regional semifinal run.
“Good thing we won, obviously, we get one more week,” Blackburn said. “But, from here on out, we have to kick it up a notch every single game.”
FRIDAY'S PLAYOFF SCORES
Class 6A bi-district (best-of-3)
- Belton 12, Mesquite Horn 2, 5 innings (Belton wins series 2-0)
- Rockwall 14, Shoemaker 0, 5 innings
- Rockwall 21, Shoemaker 2, 5 innings (Rockwall wins series 2-0)
Class 4A bi-district
- Venus 4, Gatesville 2, Venus advances