The Belton Tigers went into Tuesday night’s game with some unfinished business to tend to: taking control of the outright District 12-6A lead.
But to do so, they had to get past Texas High School Baseball Class 6A 21st-ranked Waco Midway.
Dylan Blomquist helped his own cause on the hill with a game-tying single in the fifth inning and heads-up baserunning by the Tigers in the fifth by Keagan Wolfe, who scored on Preston Rozner’s infield single put the Tigers in the lead for good. Cooper Babcock’s RBI double scored Ben Jones for insurance, as the Tigers knocked off the Panthers 4-2.
The win moved the Tigers to 4-0 in District 12-6A action, a game-and-a-half over Midway. They are 14-4-1.
Midway started the game quickly, as Couper Cornblum and Joseph Redfield each singled. Tripp Clark singled in Cornblum to put the Panthers on top. Will Nixon took Clark’s place on the basepaths, but was eliminated on a Chase Fentress-to-Connor Carothers-to-Zach Alexander 6-4-3 double play that scored Redfield to make the score 2-0.
Blomquist started to really ratchet down the Panthers offense, as he only allowed one runner from the end of the first inning until two outs in the fifth.
Fentress reached on an error to start the bottom of the first. Blomquist walked and Coby Trovinger came on to run. A pair of second-to-first grounders by the Tigers, the latter of the RBI variety by Logan Riggins, scored Fentress to get the Tigers on the board.
The Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off Midway lefthander Jackson Berry. With one out, Babcock and Wolfe walked. Jace Stephen replaced Babcock on base and scored when Blomquist went the opposite way on a single to left field to tie the game at 2-2. With two outs, Rozner chopped a 2-2 offering towards Redfield at first base. Berry got a late break to the bag and Rozner beat the throw. Meanwhile, Belton head coach Mark Krueger had Wolfe sprinting around third and diving head first across the plate for the go-ahead run.
Jones singled to start the bottom of the sixth inning and was sacrificed to second base by Connor Carothers. With two outs, Babcock hit a 2-2 pitch with a wind gust that took the ball all the way to the rightfield wall. Jones scored and Babcock ended up with a double for a much-needed insurance run.
Blomquist left with two outs and one runner out in the top of the seventh after he crossed the 110-pitch plateau. Chase King came on in relief and struck out Nolan Rodriguez to end the game.
No Tiger got more than one hit, but Babcock walked twice and doubled. Belton left five runners on base through six innings.
Blomquist earned the win, going 6 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on six hits, walked one, and struck out eight. King struck out one batter to end the game and earn the save.
“Like I tell everybody, it starts on the mound,” Krueger said. “Our team is built for a great mound performance. If we can get a great mound performance, we are in every game. It showed tonight. Dylan was lights out. Chase King came in here in a big spot and got the final out. We played solid defense with no errors. We really ran the bases well and took advantage of the miscues. We came out with the 4-2 win.”
Shoemaker will visit the Tigers on Thursday night.