Belton is one step closer.

The Tigers’ season-long hopes of winning the outright District 12-6A championship are almost reality following a one-sided victory at Ellison on Tuesday evening.

Thanks to shortstop Ben Jones’ two-run home run blast in the opening inning, Belton never trailed, cruising to a 7-1 win and sweeping the season series against the Eagles.

The outcome guarantees the Tigers at least a share of the district title, and they can secure sole possession of the championship with a victory Friday at Shoemaker.

Although Belton (21-3-1, 11-1) led the entire contest, it was close early.

Tigers second baseman Scott Gurnett, who went 2 for 3 with a pair of runs scored, delivered a single in the game’s opening at bat, setting the stage for Jones to send the third pitch he saw out of the park.

Ellison (12-15-2, 7-5) responded with a run in the bottom of the inning as Joseph Marin’s sacrifice fly sent teammate Julian Vascot, who reached base on a double, across home plate.

The Eagles, however, would produce only four more hits and see just one runner reach third base during the duration of the game.

Belton tacked on a pair of runs in the third inning and added another in the fourth inning before recording their final runs in the sixth inning.

Jones went 3 for 4 with a single and double complementing his home run, adding three runs and three RBIs in the win, while Gurnett accounted for two hits — both singles — and two runs.

Ellison junior Joffer Rodriguez led the Eagles with two hits, including a double in the fifth inning, while Frankie Santiago, Adam Quintero, Vascot and Marin contributed the remainder of the hits.

Ellison had won six straight 12-6A games since losing 8-4 to Belton on March 30. With the loss, Ellison loses sole possession of third place in the district standings, falling into a tie with Copperas Cove with two games remaining in the regular season. Additionally, Temple (6-6) and Bryan (5-7) are each within striking distance of the remaining two playoff berths.

The Eagles conclude the district schedule by traveling to Bryan on Friday before hosting Shoemaker on Tuesday.

12-6A BASEBALL

x-Belton 11-1

x-Harker Heights 8-3

Copperas Cove 7-5

Ellison 7-5

Temple 6-6

Bryan 5-7

Killeen 2-9

Shoemaker 1-11

x-clinched playoff spot

TUESDAY'S GAMES

  • Belton 7, Ellison 1
  • Copperas Cove 1, Bryan 0
  • Killeen at Harker Heights, ppd. to Weds.
  • Temple 8, Shoemaker 0

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