By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
Allison Boston didn't pitch every game Belton played this season, especially early on.
Knowing the Lady Tigers would need their senior right-handed pitcher when it mattered most, Belton shared the pitching duties during non-district tournaments.
When it mattered - District 12-5A play and the playoffs - Boston was in the circle. Half of her 24 wins came in district play and she was named 12-5A's Most Valuable Player when the all-district team was released Monday.
"She was just a huge asset to our defense, having a kid that could put the ball wherever she wanted it and when she wanted it there," Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. "And that pretty much set up our defense to roll through games."
Boston finished 12-2 in district, leading Belton to the 12-5A title. That record includes eight shutouts to go along with 112 strikeouts.
For the year, Boston went 24-7, including a pair of losses to the nation's top-ranked team, The Woodlands. Despite being swept, the Lady Tigers had the 40-0 Lady Highlanders on the brink in both 1-run games of their Region II-5A semifinal series.
The losses however, don't diminish how good Boston and her teammates were.
The Lady Tigers put five on the first team. Infielders Amber Peters and Kirsten Whiteside, outfielders Billi Farr, catcher Ashley Bucher and designated player Alyson Bishoff. Alex Wilson and Kristi Moose were second teamers.
Despite the large contingent, Blackburn said he put the accolades into perspective when he told his players.
"More than anything, the end results really dictated how our season went for each individual because it took all 10 that I had in the lineup for those last nine district games and seven playoff games," said Blackburn, the district's Coach of the Year. "We sewed up a district championship in those last 16 games and then turned around and made it, and had an opportunity to play the No. 1 in the nation. There's not a whole lot of teams that get to say that they do that.
"I'm proud of my kids for getting all district, but I think the bigger story is what it took to get us where we were."
Two area schools put a pair on the first team: Harker Heights' Harley Fine (outfield) and Ashlyn Osborne (utility), and Copperas Cove's Justin Hartwell (infield) and Kinzi Courtney (outfield). Joining them was Shoemaker's Karlye Stapleton (utility).
A&M Consolidated's Jordan Bettiol was chosen as the Offensive Player of the Year, while the top newcomer and top defensive standouts came from Temple. Freshman pitcher Lexie Smith was named Newcomer of the Year, while catcher Jenna Bane was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Others area second-team picks were: Cove's Irene Espinoza, Katelyn Stephens, Ashley Hartwell and Brianna Sinclair; Ellison's Alyssa Castro, Kasey Busch and Felicia Camargo; Harker Heights' Ashley Hayden, Regan McIlvenna and Britney Hawkins; and Shoemaker's Rikki Arkansas, Brianna Davis, Chanel Milam, Katie Quinn and Jordan Hulin.
12-5A ALL-DISTRICT TEAM
MVP - Allison Boston, Belton
Newcomer of the Year - Lexie Smith, Temple
Offensive MVP - Jordan Bettiol, A&M Consolidated
Defensive MVP - Jenna Bane, Temple
Coach of the Year - Matt Blackburn, Belton
Pitchers - Brittney Jones, Bryan; Sarah Halliwell, A&M Consolidated.
Catchers - Ashley Bucher, Belton; Dayton Kunz, A&M Consolidated; Reagan Boenker, Bryan.
Infielders - Amber Peters, Belton; Andelyn Irons, Temple; Gina Delisa A&M Consolidated; Justine Hartwell, Copperas Cove; Kaegan Jimenez, Temple; Kirsten Whiteside, Belton; Roxy Alvarado, Bryan; Sydney Parks, A&M Consolidated.
Outfielders - Billi Farr, Belton; Bryann Maxfield, Temple; Harley Fine, Harker Heights; Kayley Smith, A&M Consolidated; Kinzi Courtney, Copperas Cove; Patty Gorzycki, Bryan; Sarah Truelove, Temple; Taylor Oberg, A&M Consolidated.
Designated Player - Alyson Bishoff, Belton; Elisa Espinoza, Temple; Emily Peirce, Bryan.
Utility - Ashlyn Osborne, Harker Heights; Karlye Stapleton, Shoemaker.
Pitchers - Katelyn Stephens, Copperas Cove; Rikki Arkansas, Shoemaker.
Catchers - Katie Quinn, Shoemaker; Regan McIlvenna, Harker Heights; Ashley Hartwell, Copperas Cove.
Infielders - Alex Wilson, Belton; Alyssa Castro, Ellison; Alyssa Gregg, A&M Consolidated; Irene Espinoza, Copperas Cove; Jaycie Rogers, Temple; Rachel Nuche, Bryan.
Outfielders - Ashley Hayden, Harker Heights; Brianna Davis, Shoemaker; Chanel Milam, Shoemaker; Kasey Busch, Ellison; Kristi Moose, Belton; Sam Pajestka, Temple.
Designated Player - Britney Hawkins, Harker Heights; Brianna Sinclair, Copperas Cove.
Utility - Meagan Kraatz, Bryan; Jordan Hulin, Shoemaker; Felicia Camargo, Ellison.
Belton - Talya Bishoff and Annie Bridgers.
Copperas Cove - Megan Martel and Destiny Henderson.