By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
TROY - Alyson Bishoff didn't know the ball dropped in safely. And a batter later she didn't know where the ball was as she slid across home plate.
Once the ball was hit, she just put her head down and took off running.
But that isn't anything new. Much like getting the big hit in big games, it has become routine for Belton's sophomore first baseman.
Last year, in the Lady Tigers' final at-bat in their 5A Region II quarterfinal matchup against Mesquite Horn, Bishoff launched a two-run homer over the right-field wall to win the game.
Saturday, the hit was a little shorter, but the impact was the same as Bishoff got a game-winning single to lift Belton to a 3-1 win over Horn in the deciding Game 3 of the Class 5A bi-district playoff series.
"I didn't notice until I reached second base. Then I realized it dropped," Bishoff said. "I just stuck my head down and ran. I'm a little slower, so if I don't stick my head down, I wouldn't make it."
With a stiff wind blowing straight into home plate, Bishoff hit a soft popup that just made it over Horn third baseman Kaitlyn Stinson's outstretched glove and skirted into the outfield. Belton shortstop Meredith Langford, who had led off the inning with a walk, then raced to the plate, scoring from second on the bloop hit.
"I noticed their coach was playing them rather deep and we told our kids we can't give up something in front of us," said belton coach Matt Blackburn. "It is a tough adjustment, but our kids really listened and we felt it gave them the best opportunity to make outs and get hits."
"I had us for two errors, but the rest of the game was pretty fantastic."
Alex Wilson then gave herself a little insurance with a single to score Bishoff.
After giving up five runs in the seventh inning of Game 1 Friday, she made the lead hold up in Game 3, fielding two hard hit grounders herself and then striking out Hayley LeMonds to end the game.
Wilson led off the fourth inning with walk, but got picked off. However, Belton (17-15) still took a 1-0 lead after Lauren Ramsey walked and scored on a Skylar Stewart two-out single.
"Alex got picked off and then Skylar hits that little bloop over the infield and I am waving
Lauren home the whole way," Blackburn said. "Had Alex not got picked off, I don't think we score there because with less than two outs you have to tag.
"With two outs I was just waving."
Horn tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth. Shortstop Destiny Diaz singled and then advanced to third on an error. First baseman Kelsea Fite then singled up the middle to plate Diaz and tied the game.
The Lady Tigers had a chance to break the game open in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out after Wilson walked, Ramsey singled and Stewart reached on an error. However, Moore struck of Bekah Alcozer and got Kirsten Whiteside to pop out to first base.
In the seventh, though, Belton made the most out of its final opportunity as Bishoff and Wilson picked up RBI singles.
And Wilson did the rest on the mound. The senior pitcher only struck out one Lady Jags batter all game (LeMonds), but only gave up three hits and walked three.
"I am proud of that kid right there," Blackburn said. "She pitched two games (Friday), she got less than eight hours of sleep and had to take an ice bath (Friday night) because her legs were really sore.
"I think we beat a pretty good team."