By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Alyson Bishoff describes fellow Belton teammate pitcher Alex Wilson as the "smile- and-go type."
Wilson was smiling a lot Tuesday night along with the other Lady Tigers as they beat Copperas Cove 11-4.
Belton entered the night in a tie for the final playoff spot in District 12-5A and left it a game ahead of Ellison, which lost to A&M Consolidated 4-3.
"Our playoffs started today," said Belton coach Matt Blackburn. "We have to win out. That was our focus."
Before Bishoff stepped to the plate in the first inning, Blackburn told her to expect the second pitch of the at-bat to be away.
It was, and Bishoff knew what to do with it, driving the ball out of the park.
"I saw the pitch was supposed to be away but it stayed in enough for me and I turned on it." Bishoff said.
The quick 1-0 lead was just the beginning for the Lady Tigers (14-14, 7-6).
"I don't think the home run had a big effect on my team. I think we would have scored as many runs without the homer." Bishoff said.
In the second, Bekah Alcozer hit the first of her two triples and scored on a single by Billi Farr to make the score 2-0. The Lady Tigers had big innings in the fourth and sixth to put the game out of reach.
In the fourth, Kristen Whiteside reached on an error by Cove third baseman Destiny Henderson, stole second base and scored on Shelby Hitt's RBI double.
Bishoff followed with a bunt single that scored Hitt. The scored stood at 4-0 and the Lady Tigers pushed it to 6-0.
In the sixth, the Lady Tigers scored five more runs when Wilson and Lauren Ramsey led off with a single and a double, respectively. Both Belton runners scored on Alcozer's second triple.
"I am a power hitter, so it's my job to get big hits like that," Alcozer said. "Pitches away are my favorite and with my inside-out-swing, I can hit opposite field a lot."
The 8-0 lead stretched to 11-0 until Cove (16-13, 4-9) finally scratched out some runs in the bottom half of the sixth off a tiring Wilson. Wilson mixed in her fastball, changeup, and curveball and didn't allow a hit through 4 1/3 innings.
But by the time she gave up the runs, she was spent.
"I got tired and struggled but it's good to know I can fight through that." Wilson said.
The win is huge for Belton's playoff hopes because, as Blackburn said, "This is a little different for Belton, fighting for a spot (in the playoffs) like this.
"But I think it's good for us."