Belton falls to Elgin to start season
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 by Chuck Kelly
The Wildcats bussed in from Elgin Tuesday evening and ruined Belton's softball debut at Tiger Field. The visitors clawed the Lady Tigers 13-0 before driving off.
Alex Wilson started in the circle for the Lady Tigers and after walking the first batter of the game, she and her infield retired Elgin in order --- 1/ out pitcher to first, 2/ out second to first, and 3/ out shortstop to first.
In the bottom of the first, Kirsten Whiteside singled past third and the throw to first was wide. Shelby Hitt popped out to third base. Wilson singled past the Elgin shortstop. With runners on first and second, Alyson Bishoff struck out on a 3-2 count and Kaitlyn Dunahoo struck out to retire the side..
In the second inning, Elgin went down 1-2-3 again. Belton went back to the dugout in four as Skylar Stewart drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch but was left stranded on base.
Six Wildcat batters went to the plate in the third. Three hits ---single to short right center field, single to left field and a single down the third base line loaded the bases. With two away, the final batter flew out to center field. NO runs!
In the bottom of the third, Whiteside drew a walk but the next three Lady Tigers went down in order.
After three innings --- as the pretty cool wind began to cause coat collars to be drawn tighter around the fans' chins --- the showdown was still scoreless.
Then, as the old saying goes, "the wheels fell off the wagon".
A dozen (12) Elgin batters went to the plate. Six of them got hits, one walked and another was struck by a pitch and sent to first base. The most important part of the story was, five of those players crossed home plate for scores! RBI's came from a double to right field, a single thru shortstop, a single to right field, a single past shortstop and a single to short center field.
Three runners were left stranded on base but the scoreboard showed Elgin 5, Belton zero.
Belton sent only three batters in for their part of the fourth and the score remained the same.
Meredith Langford relieved Wilson in the circle for Belton in the top of the fifth inning.
A dropped fly ball put an Elgin runner on first, That runner was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice, leaving the last batter on base.
Freshman Tiger catcher Shelby Hitt grabbed a bunt in front of home plate and alertly threw the runner out at first base. The final out came on a fly out to second base.
Belton batters fell in order, two from strike outs, in the fifth.
The first Wildcat batter in the sixth was out third to first and the next batter hit into a double play...third to first to catcher.
In the Lady Tigers' portion of the sixth inning, Hitt led off with a walk but was put out at second on a fielder's choice that left Wilson at first. Bishoff doubled off the center field wall but Dunahoo slammed a fly ball to the third baseman and she tagged the runner coming in for a double play.
Six innings in the record book and still a 5-0 game.
In the seventh, a double off the left field wall and an overthrow at first base gave Elgin another run. Then a walk and a mishandled bunt gave the Cats two more runs. 8-0 with no outs. Five more scores were rung up before the end of the inning. Billi Farr ripped a single to deep left field before the Lady Tigers fell 1-2-3 to end the long, chilly contest.
Elgin turned in 13 runs off 18 hits with one error, while Belton was shut out .
That's the not-so-good news --- the better news is that this is a re-loading season, a young team, and one game does not a season make.
That's probably what head coach Matt Blackburn was discussing with his players gathered 'round him in the outfield as the fans filed out of Lady Tiger Softball Field.