COPPERAS COVE — Both teams had opportunities, but only one capitalized.
Looking to sweep the season series, Belton found itself in a tight contest early as it opened the second half of the District 12-6A schedule at Copperas Cove.
The squads were tied 2-2 entering the second inning, but the deadlock would not last.
The Tigers recorded four unanswered runs to close the game, including a two-run outburst in the top of the seventh inning, to secure a 6-2 victory and claim sole possession of first place in the district race.
After designated hitter Jacob Estrada delivered a two-RBI double to put Belton on the scoreboard first, the Bulldawgs immediately responded thanks to a two-run double from senior Russel Cochran in the bottom of the opening inning.
For one inning, the tie remained, but Cooper Babcock’s RBI scored teammate Caleb Alexander, who reached base on a double, in the top of the third inning, and Copperas Cove could not overcome the deficit.
The Tigers did not produce another hit until the sixth inning, seeing five of their six batters strike out during the fourth and fifth innings, but once they did, the shots were impactful.
Belton center fielder Keagan Wolfe had his team’s lone hit in the sixth inning, connecting on an RBI single to score Alexander, before the Tigers added two runs on three hits in the seventh inning, highlighted by Ben Jones’ two-RBI double.
The Bulldawgs had chances, though.
Copperas Cove (13-11, 4-3) left a total of 13 runners on bases, stranding a pair of runners in both the third and fourth innings along with leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings.
Belton finished with seven hits from seven players, while Jason Bonnett earned the pitching victory, throwing nine strikeouts in five innings before Estrada closed the contest.
Cochran was 3 for 3 at the plate with two RBIs for the Bulldawgs, and teammate Travis Sanders also had a 3-for-3 showing with a run scored.
The outcome propels Belton (17-2-1, 7-1) to the top of the standings after Harker Heights (6-2) lost 3-1 to Ellison, allowing the Eagles (4-4) to move into a fourth-place tie with Copperas Cove.
Harker Heights 6-2
Copperas Cove 4-4
- Belton 6, Copperas Cove 2
- Bryan 4, Temple 3, 9 innings
- Ellison 3, Harker Heights 1
- Shoemaker 15, Killeen 4, 6 innings