Bryan's Lady Vikings climbed back into a tie with Belton for the lead in the District 13-5A softball race Friday night at Lady Viking Field, knocking off the previously unbeaten Belton Lady Tigers 7-2 behind Katye Hamlin's pitching.
Bryan (16-12) and Belton (18-6) are now 7-1 in district play. The Lady Vikings have four league games remaining, the big one being against crosstown rival A&M Consolidated next Friday. Bryan will also face Killeen Ellison, Killeen Shoemaker and Harker Heights. The Ellison game Tuesday night will be "Little League Night" at Lady Viking Field.
The Vikings beat the pitcher who handed them their only district defeat, Belton's fireballing Courtney Gaines.
"I noticed before the game in her warmups she was throwing everything low," Bryan coach Janice Williamson said. "I told my players to go up to bat and be patient, and it paid off."
Bryan jumped on the big Belton pitcher early. Leadoff batter Alex Survant singled up the middle, and Vicki Recek followed by beating out an infield hit. Gaines then got wild, walking Angela Spittler, Calli Wood and Michelle Stratta in succession, plating two runs via the walk. Julie Varley was the first to bat off reliever Brynne Staeger, and she greeted her with a run-scoring single to left.
Staeger got the bottom of the order with a pair of strikeouts and a popup, but Bryan had a 3-0 lead it never lost.
Bryan added a single run in the second when Survant beat out an infield hit, Recek singled to left and Spittler outlegged an infield hit. With the bases loaded, Wood walked to drive in the run, but Belton got out of the jam without allowing another Lady Viking to score.
Belton scored its two runs in the third. After two were out, Skylor Alford doubled over Survant's head in left. Leadoff batter Jessica Whitley scored Alford on a pop single just over second, and Sarah Vance's single to left scored Whitley.
The flareup only served to stir Bryan to rally.
Julie Varley led off the third with an infield single, and Allison Balanga reached on an error. Kristin Lara, pinch hitting for Brittney Chavarria, dropped a sacrifice bunt to move both runners, and Bryan scored when shortstop Abby Culbreth tripled down the left field line. Culbreth later scored on a groundout by Survant.
Hamlin gave way to Stratta in the fifth after allowing a single and a walk. Hamlin finished with four strikeouts, giving up two runs on three hits. Stratta shut out the Lady Tigers the remaining 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit while striking out one.
Bryan 7, Belton 2
Belton 002 000 0 - 2 4 1
Bryan 313 000 x - 7 8 0
Courtney Grimes, Brynne Staeger and Red Young; Katye Hamlin, Michelle Strata (5) and Wood, Varley (5).
WP - Hamlin 12-6. LP - Gaines.
Leading hitters - Belton, Skylor Alford (2b); Bryan, Survant 2, Recek 2, Juli Varley 2. Culbreth 3b, 2 RBIs, Wood, 2 RBIs.
JV - Bryan Silver JV 6, Belton 1. WP - Jennifer Kasper. Bryan leading hitter - Kasper 3-3, 2B, 3 RBIs.
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