BELTON — One inning was all the Belton Lady Tigers needed to turn a tight District 12-6A softball game into something they are more accustomed to — a mercy-rule victory.
Belton scored 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth en route to a 16-2, five-inning win over the Harker Heights Lady Knights on Tuesday night.
After crawling back from an early 2-0 deficit, the Lady Tigers entered the fourth clinging to a 4-2 lead. Belton’s offense quickly got on a roll, scoring 12 runs off eight hits, two errors and three wild pitches against three Heights pitchers. The highlight of the inning was Isabelle Gutierrez’s two-run home run off the scoreboard that gave Belton (21-5, 10-0) a 7-2 lead.
Payton Cook had reached on a error to start the inning and scored on a single by Harley Staton, who came on Gutierrez’s homer. Avery Drake and Miranda Davila were both hit by pitches, and Harker Heights replaced starting pitcher Ashleigh Palma with Laney Salcido, who didn’t fare much better.
Drake eventually scored on the first wild pitch of the inning, and Caleigh Robinson drove in Davila with a single to left for a 9-2 lead. After Paige Nunes walked, Maddison Parker made it 11-2 with a double to right.
A single by Cook put runners at the corners and was followed by a double-steal to push it 12-2, and Belton scored four more runs through a wild pitch, two singles and a sacrifice fly.
Lady Tigers pitcher Taylor Tubbs did the rest, retiring the Lady Knights in order in the top of the fifth to seal Belton’s seventh district win by the mercy rule.
It was a good ending for Tubbs, who found herself trailing after Heights put together a two-out rally in the first with back-to-back infield singles, a walk and Marissa Stillwell’s two-run single.
The Lady Tigers didn’t stay down long, getting their bats going in the second. With Madison Ward on first, Parker tied it at 2-all with a home run over the wall in center field. Avery Drake later tripled in Staton, who had doubled.
A solo homer by Robinson to lead off the third made it 4-2.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 16, Harker Heights 2, 5 innings
- Copperas Cove 26, Killeen 16
- Temple 4, Shoemaker 1
- Waco Midway 15, Ellison 1, 5 innings
Waco Midway (9-1)
Copperas Cove (5-5)
Harker Heights (4-6)