Houston tosses no-hitter in baseball massacre
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 by Chuck Kelly
What a way to start a Class 5A high school baseball post-season playoff run --- senior pitcher Hunter Houston (6-3) hurled a no-hit five-inning rout; the Tiger defense was amazing; and the offense scored 11 runs off 8 hits, including a five-run 2-for-3 performance by Blayten Magana and the game-ending three-run walk-off homerun by sophomore Jared Janczak that was still climbing skyward as it cleared the left field wall.
When the smoke had cleared at Tiger Field, Belton had dominated North Mesquite 11-0 in game one of the best-of-three Bi-District series.
"It was a good game," pronounced a grinning head coach Eddie Cornblum afterward. "It was a weird game...kinda slow-paced on the mound...it took a little time but we rocked and fired, then got some guys in scoring positions and got some timely hitting. Blayten came through a couple times, Austin (Bishoff) got a great bunt down, (Chase) Cryer put one in right center field and Janczak was hitting the ball...it was good to see."
Houston got off to a quick start, sending the Stallions first three batters back to the dugout.
The Tiger took over and in the bottom of the first, center fielder Janczak singled thru the gap, Baylor-bound Max Hogan drew a base on balls and Magana, a TC signee, ripped a long single off the center field wall, scoring both. Belton grabbed a two-run lead after just one inning.
Neither team scored in the second and Houston was tested in the third. After an error and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with two outs, Houston escaped danger as he notched his first strikeout of the game.
The Tigers blew it open then with some of that "timely hitting" the coach had been wanting.
Janczak drove a single to deep left feld...Hogan took first after he was hit by a pitch...Bishoff laid down a perfect bunt and, with the bases loaded, Magana hit a sacrifice fly that scored the first run. Hogan raced home on a wild pitch and Walker Winders slammed an RBI single past both the pitcher and shortstop. Three Belton runs to increase the team's lead to 5-0.
In the fourth, a shot to third base and fly balls to second and center field quickly retired North Mesquite.
The Tigers loaded the bases then and catcher Joe Pare dashed home on a wild pitch for the first score and two more runs came in on Magana's sharply-hit second two-RBI single of the night. 8-zip Belton.
Houston finished a sterling performance on the mound in the top of the fifth by striking out the first two Stallions at bat and then corralled a little infield chopper and threw out the third batter at first.
Winders led off the fifth with a walk, then advanced to second when the North Mesquite pitcher was called for a balk. The next two Tiger batters struck out before that afore-mentioned "timely hitting" ended the game. Shane Ward was sent to first after escaping injury when a fast ball almost knocked off his batting helmet . With two teammates on base, Winders smashed a 1-and-1 pitch way over the wall in left field for a three-RBI walk-off homer and the five-inning 11-0 run-rule victory --- Mission accomplished.
Game two of the series awaited the Tigers on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Copeland Field on the Mesquite Poteet High School campus.
Pitching? Defense? Offense? Belton was ready and planned on putting North Mesquite away without needing a game three.
That's exactly what they did as coach Cornblum's talented troops (17-11) swept the Stallions with a 4-2 bi-district victory and advance to face Garland Rowlett (25-7) Friday (tomorrow) night in the area round of the playoffs.
Game two was nearly a repeat of the opening game as senior pitcher Blayten Magana (6-2) pitched a perfect game for six innings. He was as tough to hit as Houston in the opening matchup heading into the seventh and final inning.
Magana quickly got two grounders to begin the seventh. With two away, he needed only one more out but the next batter ripped a ground ball deep to shortstop and was fast enough to beat the throw to first. Magana then walked a batter before giving up a two RBI double that cut Belton's lead to 4-2. The Stallions beat out another infield hit and, with two outs, had two men on base and the tying run at the plate. The tough Magana measured his opponent and then proceeded to strike him out with three straight pitches for the victory.
Belton's talented pitching corps, with great help from the defense and five hits from the offense, turned in another performance to brag about and move on to the next round of the playoffs.
The Tigers racked up all their scores in two innings.
Belton grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third, scoring first on a wild pitch and Austin Bishoff drove home a run with a big double.
In the top of the fourth, the left-handed second baseman, Hogan, put two more runs on the scoreboard when he drilled a double to right center field, plating Shane Ward and Jared Janczak. Four runs turned the trick and the Tigers advance to the second round.
Garland Rowlett comes to Tiger Field Friday evening (tomorrow) for the opening game of a best-two-of-three area series. First pitch is set for 7:00pm. The teams then head to Rowlett for a Saturday showdown at 1:00pm, followed by a third game if needed.