Tigers bounce back after disappointing loss
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 by Chuck Kelly
After a disappointing district opening 5-2 loss to Copperas Cove on the road, Cornblum's Tigers roared back with two consecutive home victories,
Last Thursday night, Belton senior Blayton Magana pitched a terrific complete game against Harker Heights for a 1-0 home-opener and first district win at Tiger Field. The Temple College commitment allowed just one hit in the fifth inning and piled up nine strikeouts.
Afterwards, a tired Magana said he felt good...."great, actually, I'm just glad we won," he said. "We've been struggling lately. We've been right there on the edge and I think tonight will help us get some motivation for Shoemaker and Temple next week. I'm just glad we won. My teammates were out there giving it all they had. Just give me one run and we're gonna win...one run, that's all it takes."
Magana whiffed his first batter on a 0-2 pitch in the first inning and followed up in the second with two more strikeouts. In the fourth inning, he notched his fourth "K" and picked up number 5 in the fifth. Magana was "on" and kept sending the batters back to the dugout. In the sixth inning, he set down the leadoff batter on three straight strikes and then struck out the next batter to up his total for the evening to 7.
In the Knights' final try to come back, the leadoff batter flew out to center field and Magana fittingly polished off the game with two consecutive strikeouts. Nine for the night!
Cornblum had high praise for his pitcher. "He pitched great. We went over our scouting stuff with him and he dealt just like we talked about what we needed to do against these guys," the coach commented, adding "Thank God he was zoned in tonight and we were able to get one run for him, which was huge. It just takes one!"
Austin Bishoff led off the fourth inning with a sizzling single thru shortstop. Ryan King put down a perfect bunt that moved Bishoff to second base and he later advanced to third on a passed ball. The stage was set and sophomore Chase Cryer stepped up to the plate with two out and after fouling off the first pitch, he smashed a single up the gap to bring Bishoff home with what turned out to be the winning run.
In the top of the fifth, the Knights gave it a try with a highlight reel play... The first batter made it on base on an error and with one out, Heights drove a shot into mid-centerfield and the base runner took off at the crack of the bat, determined to get that tying score. He didn't count on the arm strength and accuracy of sophomore center fielder Jared Janczak who fired the baseball all the way in to home plate and catcher Joe Pare made the catch and turned to tag out the charging runner two steps short of home plate!
The following night, Friday, Cornblum's "Road Warriors" took the bus to Killeen and knocked off their second district foe in as many nights, clobbering Shoemaker 9-2....Senior pitcher Shane Ward had a big night. He struck out 14 batters and went 2-for-3 at bat, with one RBI
"He set the tone for the game," stated Cornblum afterward. "Shane controlled the game from the mound."
The Tigers scored three runs in the first and two more in the second inning, added one more in the fourth, two in the sixth and one more for the road in the top of the seventh.
Cryer continued on his offensive spree in the back-to-back games as he was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. Juan Lagunas went 2-for-3.
Ellison comes to Tiger Field tomorrow (Friday) evening. First pitch is at 7pm.