Lake Belton vs. Robinson

Lake Belton’s Casey Schultz hits a two-run home run in the third inning of the Lady Broncos’ 4-1 win over Robinson on Thursday in an area-round opener in Temple.

TEMPLE — Lake Belton delivered some pop in the pitcher’s circle and batter’s box Thursday night and now has a lead in its Class 4A best-of-three area-round playoff series over Robinson to show for it.

Shelby Schultz struck out 16 batters in a complete game one-hitter while getting run support in the form of three towering home runs in the Lady Broncos’ 4-1 victory over the Lady Rockets in Game 1 at Bronco Diamond.

“Just super proud of the way they competed tonight,” said Lake Belton head coach Matt Blackburn, whose squad looks to close out the series in Game 2 at 6 tonight in Robinson.

Game 3 would be 30 minutes after Game 2, if necessary.

Madison Lux led off Lake Belton’s second inning with her first of two solo home runs to give the Lady Broncos (26-5) a 1-0 lead.

After the Lady Rockets (14-13-1) tied it at 1 in the top of the third, Casey Schultz sent a 3-1 pitch from Robinson’s Emma Brignac over the wall in right-center in the bottom half of the frame to put Lake Belton ahead to stay.

Lux’s second home run — her eighth this season — was skied over the tall wall in center to start the sixth inning and pad the advantage to 4-1.

“The infield was moving a lot and I could tell what pitch she was going to throw. I was just waiting on it and kept my head down — made sure I was really thinking about my mechanics since I’ve been struggling the past few games,” Lux said of her 2-for-3 evening.

Autumn Holman and Casey Schultz also were 2-for-3 for Lake Belton, which had eight hits.

Shelby Schultz improved to 19-3 in the circle with an efficient outing that featured stretches of four and five straight strikeouts.

“My curveball and my changeup were my best pitches tonight. I missed maybe one, but it wasn’t a bad miss because they didn’t get a hit off of it,” Shelby Schultz said.

She struck out the side in the second and fourth innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh that was broken up by Haley Holmes’ one-out single.

“Lights out,” Blackburn said of his left-hander’s outing. “I mean, when you talk about playoff pitching performances that’s exactly what you want to see.”

With her team down 1-0, Robinson’s Kendyl Lashombe reached on an error with one out in the third to break up a streak of four strikeouts in a row by Schultz and promptly stole second to get in scoring position. Lashombe then stole third and scored on an error to even the contest at 1-all.

Schultz retired the next 11 in a row before a dropped third strike allowed one runner to reach and Holmes’ single gave the Lady Rockets two on with one out in their last at-bat. Schultz induced a fielder’s choice groundout and her final strikeout to seal the win.

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