A famous comedian once said “Sometimes it’s not that the wind is blowing, it is what the wind is blowing.”The Belton Lady Tigers traveled to San Angelo on Friday night to take on the Central Lady Cats in a critical matchup for both teams.
Navigating their way through 30-miles-per-hour winds, up to 40-miles-per-hour gusts, blowing dirt and dust, and swirling pop-ups in the jet stream, the Lady Tigers scored multiple runs in three innings to run-rule the Lady Cats 12-1.
The win moved Belton to 11-1 in District 8-6A. Co-district leader Waco Midway’s game at Killeen Shoemaker was suspended due to bad weather on Friday night, with the Pantherettes leading the Lady Grey Wolves 12-0. That game will be completed on Monday.
Avery Drake led off the game with a walk and a stolen base. With one out, Bethany Edwards hit a fly ball to center field that drifted to right-center. Lady Cats’ center fielder Kaleigh Ochinang gave chase and the ball popped out of her glove, which landed Edwards at first and scored Drake. After Caleigh Robinson singled Edwards to second. Madison Bartlett crushed an 0-2 through the left-centerfield gap to the wall for a double that scored Edwards and Robinson to make the score 3-0.
Taylor Tubbs got the start in the circle and kept the Central batters off-balance. After Ochinang flew out to Paige Nunes in left field to start the bottom of the first, Sydnie Gilbert hammered a full-count pitch to third base to a ready-and-waiting Bartlett for the
second out. Tubbs struck out Maddie Stewart swinging to retire Central in order.
With one out in the top of the second, Miranda Davila reached base on an Emily Sanchez error at first base. Drake dropped down a perfect bunt for an infield single. With two outs, Edwards blasted an 0-1 pitch through the right-to-left winds far beyond the left field fence for a three-run homer. Robinson doubled five pitches later and Bartlett traded spots with her, answering with an RBI double to put Belton up 7-0.
Ashton McMillan picked up Central’s first hit of the night on a wind-blown pop-up that dropped between second base and right field. She was stranded on second base, as Tubbs answered the call with a strike out, and induced a pop-up in the circle and a ground out to the slab.
Central picked up a walk in the bottom of the third inning. Tubbs answered the challenge again with a strike out and fielded a pop-up. Gilbert hit a harder blast to third on a 1-0 offering and Bartlett was on the spot again with the glove at the hot corner.
Sanchez doubled off of Tubbs with one out in the fourth and stole third base. McMillan, who took over for starting pitcher Baylee Fulps in the top of the frame, singled in Sanchez to account for Central’s lone run of the game.
Belton scored five times in the fifth inning to put the pressure on Central to score in the bottom of the inning.
Bartlett singled, stole second base and scored on Maddison Parker’s single. Payton Cook courtesy ran for Parker, swiped second base and moved to third base on Harley Staton’s single. Nunes’ two-run double score Cook and Staton to up the score to 10-1.
Davila was hit by a pitch and Drake’s sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third. Ward’s ground out scored Nunes and Edwards’ single scored Davila to make the score 12-1.
Hannah Kelley came on in the bottom of the fifth. A wind-blown error was long blemish in the inning, as Kelley struck out Kayla Subia, Destini Robles and Gilbert to end the ballgame.
Bartlett was 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, Edwards was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in and Nunes also had two RBI.
Tubbs got the win in the circle. She pitched four innings, allowed one run on three hits, walked one and struck out four. Kelley struck out three Lady Cats in her inning of relief.
The Lady Tigers will play at No. 24 Lake Travis Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in a non-district game.