TEMPLE — The Belton Lady Tigers are still swinging for the District 12-5A championship.

Taking a page from the book of the two teams that beat them in the first half of the 12-5A season, Belton now shares the top spot with both and, after its 6-1 win over rival Temple on Tuesday, is just getting going.

After being four-hit and shutout in their first meeting with the Tem-Cats, the Lady Tigers (19-7, 7-2) pounded out 10 hits and blew open a 1-0 game with five runs in the sixth and seventh innings. “The thing that triggers in my head was after we went down to (A&M) Consolidated and I asked the girls after the game, I said, ‘Girls, what do you notice about the two teams that whipped our tail?’ And they said their approach at the plate is an aggressive one,” Belton coach Matt Blackburn said.

“I don’t know that we’re as aggressive and free-swinging as some of those teams, but our cuts that we’ve been taking have been more aggressive.”

Alex Wilson was 2-for-4 with a leadoff solo home run in the sixth and Kirsten Whiteside, Amber Peters and Ashley Bucher each had doubles in the seventh, where the Lady Tigers scored three.

Temple (6-11, 7-2) broke Belton’s shutout when Jenna Bane’s RBI single plated Sarah Truelove in the bottom of the sixth. Bane had two of Temple’s four hits against Belton ace Allison Boston.

Boston, who allowed eight hits to Temple in Belton’s 4-0 loss March 8, struck out 13 and didn’t have a hit hurt her until Truelove’s sixth-inning lead-off double — the Tem-Cats’ first hit off Boston since a third-inning triple by Bane.

“Boston, tonight, that’s as good a game as I’ve seen her pitch in three years. She ran through their lineup,” Blackburn said.

A pitcher’s duel at the start, Boston and Temple’s Lexi Smith combined for 16 strikeouts, six hits, one walk and one run through five innings before Wilson’s homer opened the floodgates in the sixth for Belton.

Including the long ball, Belton had six of its hits in the final two innings.

“That’s a good team and we knew that going in. Boston, that’s the best pitcher we have to face, I think, in this district. I’m not afraid to say that, I mean, she’s good,” Temple coach Steve Prentiss said. “I thought Lexi pitched a good game tonight. They got a couple timely hits and we didn’t.”

Belton 7-hole batter Alyson Bishoff led off the Lady Tigers’ third inning with their first hit, a single to center  field, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kristi Moose, reached third on a passed ball and scored the go-ahead run on Whiteside’s two-out RBI single.

The Tem-Cats threatened in the bottom of the third after Bane’s two-out triple, but Boston struck out Samantha Pajestka in three pitches to get out of the inning.

The Lady Tigers added two more runs in the sixth. After Wilson’s lead-off homer to straight-away center field, Bucher reached on a single and then scored on an error by the Temple second baseman off a hard-hit ground ball by Bishoff.

Belton then scored three runs on four hits in the seventh, including back-to-back doubles by  Peters and Bucher, to really blow open the game.

“I think the girls are playing with confidence and they’re playing like they know we’re capable of playing,” Blackburn said. “We’ve got to get through (Harker) Heights and still we’ve got another perennial in Consol (which beat Belton 10-5 earlier this season) that we’ve got to face and we’ve got to take care of.

Contact Kevin Posival at kposival@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7562.

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