Lady Tigers set to earn playoff spot
Sunday, 29 April 2012 by Chuck Kelly
The defending District 12-5A champions, the Belton Lady Tigers, are in an unusual must-win situation this final week of the regular season. Belton must defeat both Copperas Cove and Ellison this week to earn a fourth-place spot in the post-season playoffs.
The Lady Tigers (14-14, 7-6) took the first step Tuesday night with a big 11-4 road victory in Copperas Cove. Ellison lost 4-3 to co-leader A&M Consolidated.
"We shut them out until we gave up four runs in the sixth inning," head coach Matt Blackburn said after the game. "We still have to beat Ellison Friday (tomorrow). Right now, it's win or go home."
Junior Alex Wilson was great in the circle, striking out nine of the 29 batters she faced in the complete seven inning game. She threw 66 strikes in her 104 total pitches, walked only two and allowed just six hits by the Lady Bulldogs. The Belton sluggers meanwhile pounded out 20 hits on their way to the 11 runs.
Belton jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Alyson Bishoff cracked a two-out homer over the center field wall.
A triple to right by Becca Alcozer and a single past second base by Billi Farr upped the advantage to 2-0 after two innings.
In the top of the fourth, Kirsten Whiteside made it to first on an error, and after a sacrifice fly, Shelby Hitt slammed a double to left to score her teammate. Bishoff made it to first and with two away, Lauren Ramsey got an RBI single, bringing Bishoff across the plate, Skylar Stewart then shot a pitch over second, scoring two more runs....four in the fourth inning for a 6-zip lead.
Wilson and the Belton defense kept Cove off the scoreboard until the sixth. Meredith Langford, Wilson, Ramsey, Alcozer and Whiteside added five more runs and it looked like it was time to go home.
The Lady Bulldogs were not quite waving the white flag yet --- a single, base on balls, and another single loaded the bases and the next batter crashed an RBI single, after a strikeout, the following batter singled home two more runs before Wilson notched a pair of K's to end the inning.
Everything turned out fine because Wilson grabbed an infield hit for an out in the seventh and struck out the final two batters.
Belton needed two wins this week and this was number one....an 11-4 victory and one more to go Friday at home against Ellison.
Coach Matt Blackburn's Lady Tigers watched in disbelief last Friday when a one-run lead disappeared in the bottom of the seventh inning at A&M Consolidated. The Consol Tigers edged Belton 6-5 in the crucial District 12-5A showdown.
There was no score in the opening inning as both teams got off to a slow start.
In the second, Consol rang up three scores on a one-out single, an error, a walk and two consecutive singles.
In the top of the third inning, Kirsten Whiteside blasted a triple into center field and a single to left by Belton's starting pitcher Meredith Langford scored Whiteside for the Lady Tigers' first run.
In the bottom of the third, A&M Consolidated added a fourth score with a pair of singles to left center field and a base on balls.
No more scoring until the top of the sixth when Lauren Ramsey slapped a single over second base and Tiger teammate Becca Alcozer cracked an RBI double to left.
The scoreboard showed Consolidated 4, Belton 2 after six as the game moved into the final inning.
It was do-or-die time --- Whiteside led off for Belton with a double to left field. Langford singled to left to score the runner. 4-3 now. Brittany Bass walked but was tagged out trying to make it from second to third to get into scoring position. Alex Wilson singled Langford home. That tied up the game at 4-4! Ramsey stepped up to the plate next and, unbelievably, slammed a single over second base, scoring Wilson for the go-ahead run.
Belton had taken a 5-4 lead and needed to hold on for three outs and ride the bus home.
What did big-leaguerYogi Berra once say..."It ain't over til it's over"?
After giving up the lead, Consol led off their final at bat with a single that put the tying run on base. The next batter reached base on an infield error. A single tied the game 5-5 and a line-drive ripped to the center field wall drove in the final run to complete A&M Consolidated's rally for a 6-5 victory.
Whiteside was 2-for-3 with a double and triple, two runs; Langford, 2-for-4, RBI; and Ramsey, 2-for- 3, RBI.