WACO — Matt Blackburn wasn’t going to elaborate, but whatever he told Alex Wilson between games went a long way toward keeping Belton’s season alive another day.

After watching her get knocked around in a five-run fifth inning in Game 1, Blackburn pulled his senior pitcher and began went to work tinkering. “We had to make some adjustments just from the pitching approach from the first game,” Blackburn said.

With Game 2 still left to play, Wilson followed her coach’s advice and held off District 12-5A rival Bryan 4-3 to split their Region II-5A quarterfinal doubleheader Friday evening at Baylor’s Getterman Stadium.

“I started hitting my spots more,” Wilson said with a sly smile. “I was missing ‘key components’ that I should have had (in Game 1).”

It was the first time Belton (20-16) had beaten the Lady Vikings in four tries, with Bryan (30-6) sweeping both district games 12-0 and 7-6, and then outslugging the Lady Tigers 11-6 in Game 1. The winner-take-all Game 3 is at 1 p.m. today.

After allowing five runs on four hits in the fifth inning of Game 1, Wilson scattered five hits in Game 2 while only allowing a one earned run — a two-run home run by Bryan’s Brittney Jones in the fifth — for the complete-game victory.

“After the first game, I came out more mentally prepared and more determined,” she said.

Wilson had a plenty of help from her defense, which shrugged off four errors — including two in a three-run fifth — to come through when it mattered, as the Lady Vikings stranded seven base runners.

“Normally when you make (four) errors, you don’t win a game, but these kids are resilient,” Blackburn said.

Wilson also helped herself, blooping a two-run triple past a diving Morgan Isbell in right field in the first for a 2-0 lead before she stepped into the circle.

Belton added two more in the top of the fourth on back-to-back hits — an RBI-double by Kirsten Whiteside and an RBI-single by Billi Farr to go ahead 4-0.

“When our backs are against the wall, we play,” Blackburn said.

Added sophomore slugger Alyson Bishoff: “In Game 2, we realized, if we lose this, we’re done. So that will to fight is more important than anything else to us. Because we all love being out here.”

The fifth inning almost bit Wilson again after Whiteside and Bishoff had back-to-back head-scratchers at second and first base, respectively.

With runners on second and third, Bryan’s Reagan Boenker hit a sacrifice fly to left and then Jones deposited Wilson’s first offering right over the 220-foot marker in center to make it 4-3 after five.In the first game, Bishoff had no idea what she was starting.

A scoreless pitcher’s duel through the first 3 ½ innings, Game 1 quickly unraveled after Bishoff’s shot down the right field line hooked just inside the foul pole for a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

“I actually thought it was foul, because I’ve done that a couple of times — hit a foul ball home run,” Bishoff said. “It seems to be my lucky thing.”

But the Lady Vikings answered Belton’s first hit of the contest with five runs on four hits in the top of the fifth.

Senior leadoff hitter Meagan Kraatz (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) plated the first two on a single into left and then scored on a two-out, two-run single by Jones.

Belton kept it competitive, though, adding two in the next half inning as Bekah Alcozer and Kirsten Whiteside scored after back-to-back inning-opening doubles, but the Lady Vikings wouldn’t relinquish its lead, adding three runs in both the sixth and seventh to put Belton a game from elimination.

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