Lady Tigers fall to A&M Consolidated
Friday, 23 March 2012 by Chuck Kelly
Two packs of growling Lady Tigers clawed at each other for seven innings at Belton's Tiger Softball Field Tuesday afternoon --- when the fight was over, the A&M Consolidated Lady Tigers defeated our hometown Lady Tigers 6-3, denying Belton its first district victory.
The big problem for head coach Matt Blackburn's Lady Tigers was timely hits...hits strung together to produce runs.
"Twelve runners left on base....you're not gonna win games if you don't score runs," lamented the coach. "We had ample opportunity to get hits with runners on base and we didn't. We should have been up 3-0 after the first two innings and instead we left three runners on (base) in those innings. We're getting runners on base but not getting them in!"
Junior Alex Wilson started in the circle and set Consol down 1-2-3 in the opening frame....second baseman Kirsten Whiteside to Alyson Bishoff at first, Wilson fielded one in the infield and tossed a strike to Bishoff at first and the final batter flew out to Whiteside for the last out..
Lauren Ramsey led off for Belton in the bottom of the first with a base on balls. The next three at the plate fell in order....a sacrifice bunt, high fly-out to third base and a swinging strikeout.
A&M Consolidated went back to the dugout in order as Wilson notched her first strikeout of the contest in the second inning.
Belton sent five batters to the plate but ended up leaving two stranded on base....no runs.
In the top of the third, Wilson hauled in a popup fly and then caught an infield smash and the third batter was thrown out second to first.
Belton scored the first run of the showdown in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Skylar Stewart slammed a triple off the left field wall and then scored on a wild pitch to Bishoff.
Consol got a single to left field and with two outs, one Wilson's second "K" of the game, the A&M batter singled to left center field to bring the runner on base across to score. The next batter looped an RBI single to right field and the visitors left one runner on base.
2-1 Consolidated after three-and-a half innings..
Belton catcher Shelby Hitt singled down the third base line and Meredith Langford got an infield single to put runners at second and third base. With two outs, Ramsey punched out an RBI single to tie the game. Two runners were left on base with a third out, shortstop to first base to end the fourth.
Consol turned the tide of the contest in the fifth inning, when a homer screamed over the left center field wall and two singles scored three runs. They left two stranded on base.
In the bottom of the frame, Bishoff walked on four straight balls and Hitt singled to center field before the third out came and both were left on base....no score.
Wilson recorded her third strikeout to begin the sixth but gave up a sizzling grounder up the middle and walked two to load the bases. Langford took the circle in relief and the first batter that she faced rapped an 0-2 pitch to center field to score a run and leave the bases full of runners. The next Consol batter battled off three called balls and four foul balls before she connected to send a long fly ball to right field, where a running Brittany Bass had a great catch for the third out, leaving three runners on base.
In Belton's sixth, Langford singled and Whiteside dtrew a base on balls but no runs scored.
In the seventh, A&M got a runner on base on an overthrow to first but the next batter hit into a double play by Belton as the shortstop flipped the ball to second to catch the runner charging from first and then the throw to first picked off the batter. The third out came on a fly ball to center field.
One last chance for the Belton Lady Tigers --- the bottom of the seventh, down 6-2. Bishoff singled up the gap and Wilson took a 2-2 pitch and singled to short center field. Hitt was out, shortstop to first, but scored a run in the process. Becca Alcozer walked before two foul balls in a row were caught to end the suspense.
The A&M Consolidated Tigers took a 6-3 win back home.
Belton (7-11, 0-3) has a challenging week ahead due to weather-related rescheduling --- the Lady Tigers host Harker Heights at 6 Monday and Copperas Cove at 7 Tuesday, then back to back road games at 6 Wednesday at Shoemaker and a 7 o'clock showdown Friday at Ellison.
"We have to win all four," stated Blackburn.