Tigers fall to Consolidated in 11-ining classic
Friday, 20 April 2012 by David Tuma
The Belton baseball team entered last weekend tied for first with A&M Consolidated and Bryan and a chance to take the outright District 12-5A lead --- but it didn't happen.
Friday night, Belton fought Consolidated in an 11-inning, 3½ hour marathon at Tiger Field. The score was tied at three-all at the end of six innings. There were no additional runs scored over the following four innings before the visitors drilled a go-ahead RBI double in the top of the 11th inning to win the showdown 4-3.
Tiger head coach Eddie Cornblum admitted it was quite a game. "It was a great high school baseball game, he said afterward. "It was a shame that someone had to lose that one....unfortunately, it was us."
Belton (now 10-10, 4-2) had entered the contest on a four-game win streak.
Shane Ward pitched a great game for five innings, striking out three and allowing three runs off a homer over the right field wall. Hunter Houston relieved Ward in the sixth and posted seven strikeouts, holding the Consol Tigers scoreless until the game-winning double in the top of the 11th inning.
Belton's Tigers took the early lead in the first frame when Austin Bishoff sent a shot thru shortstop, scoring Ward, who had drawn a base on balls to begin the inning.
Consol went ahead in the third. With two on base, one because a Belton fielder fell trying to run down the ball and the second on a fielder's choice, a long fly ball to left field and a homer over the right field wall resulted in three scores as A&M took a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Bishoff drove a single over the pitcher's head and Blayton Magana slammed a homer out of the park to tie up the game at 3-3.
That was the end of the evening's scoring until the dagger-in-the-heart go-ahead double in the top of the eleventh.
Belton made a last-ditch try in the bottom when Jarred Janczak powered a one-out double to right field but he was stranded on third base when the next two batters fell in order. Game Over!
"In games like this when you're playing great teams, you've got to be perfect," rationalized Cornblum. "We fough and it was an exciting game. We had opportunities late in extra innings but just didn't get the runs in. We have to take care of business tomorrow in Bryan."
Unfortunately, that goal didn't happen Saturday at Viking Field.
The Tigers dropped their second game in less than 24 hours, falling 2-0 to Bryan behind the Vikes' pitching ace who tossed a two-hitter and struck out seven.
Temple College signee Blayton Magana was on the mound for Belton and the game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when the Vikings (15-6, 5-2) pushed across two runs to win the pitcher's duel.
"We're in charge of our own destiny now," said Cornblum. "We've got to sweep the next two weeks."
Belton started the second round of district play Tuesday night at home against Copperas Cove, who won their earlier meeting.