BELTON — Neither weather nor an early Shoemaker lead kept Belton from extending its recent string of success Tuesday night, when the Lady Tigers made it five wins in a row with a 15-4 nod in five innings over the Lady Grey Wolves in District 22-5A.
Aizlinn Canava’s three-run, inside-the-park home run in the second inning and Lole Reyes’ bases-clearing double in the fourth highlighted Belton’s seven-hit attack at Lady Tiger Field, which was saturated from start to finish by a slick and slippery mixture of mist, drizzle and rain.
“We spotted them a couple early, just didn’t react to the conditions,” Belton head coach Jeremy Engelke said. “We fixed it from there.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the Lady Tigers (10-9-2, 5-1) posted three runs in their half of the first, three in the second, two in the third and what amounted to a game-clinching seven in the fourth.
Belton is averaging a touch more than 12 runs per game during its current five-game run that has it in second place behind Lake Belton, the last squad to defeat the Lady Tigers in league action.
Miley Davila closed out the evening in the circle, pitching the fifth to spell Reyes, who struck out six, walked three and allowed three hits through four innings to pick up the win.
Lorynn Wolf started for Shoemaker (11-7, 3-3) and pitched 1-plus innings. Kylee Czaplicki went the rest of the way.
Canava went 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs. Ramsey Curran finished 2-for-4 with a double, and Lucy Gaines, Bekah Bledsoe and Iris Molina had a single apiece.
Ahead 8-4 entering the fourth, Belton sent 12 batters to the plate and put the contest out of reach with the seven spot that included Kylee Jordan’s RBI single and Reyes’ three-run double.
“We’ve been trying to take a patient approach to the plate. They’re finally starting to do that and trust themselves when they get behind in the count,” Engelke said. “Real happy with the sticks tonight.”
Both teams went to work during a busy first inning when a combined 14 batters made their way to the plate.
Shoemaker went ahead 2-0 before Reyes recorded an out, using back-to-back walks, a wild pitch and an RBI double by Czaplicki to build the lead.
Reyes, though, settled as the frame continued, recording a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to keep the deficit manageable.
“First time back since breaking her thumb, so some rust,” Engelke said of his senior, who had played in two previous games since the injury but returned to the circle Tuesday. “That was to be expected. But she competes.”
And it took the Lady Tigers three batters in the bottom of the first to erase the margin plus two more to jump ahead to stay.
Canava and Reyes drew walks to open the inning, and Canava crossed on an RBI single by Curran, whose sprint for second attracted a throw back that way from Wolf that went into center field and allowed Reyes to score for 2-2. Two batters later, Curran eased home on a wild pitch.
Lefty, leadoff hitter Canava laced a line drive that sliced away from Shoemaker’s left fielder in the second and rolled to the wall. Malorie Holman and Molina scored, followed by Canava, who dived headfirst for the inside-the-park dinger in the second.
Belton led 8-2 in the third after tacking on a pair following a Shoemaker error. The Lady Grey Wolves sliced into their climb with two runs in the fourth, including Jasmine Barahona’s RBI ground out, to make it 8-4.
The Lady Tigers next face Ellison on the road Friday.
“One game at a time,” Engelke said.
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