SURGING INTO THE PLAYOFFS: District 12-6A champ Belton begins postseason with series vs. Duncanville
PRIMED FOR THE PLAYOFFS: Senior right-handed pitcher Brady Shadrick (10-0) and the District 12-6A champion Belton Tigers (23-3-1) begin their run in the Class 6A state playoffs when they host 11-6A fourth seed Duncanville (16-13) at 7 p.m. Friday at Tiger Field in the opening game of a best-of-three series. The series will continue with Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday in Duncanville, with a third game to follow if needed. Coach Mark Krueger's Belton squad, seventh and 11th in the 6A state rankings, have won 10 consecutive games. (File photo by Greg Wille, TempleBeltonSports.com)
By GREG WILLE
BELTON – After ripping through their District 12-6A baseball schedule, the state-ranked Belton Tigers begin their quest for a deep push in the Class 6A playoffs when they challenge Duncanville in a best-of-three bi-district series.
Game 1 is at 7 p.m. Friday at Belton's Tiger Field, then the series shifts to Duncanville on Saturday for a 1 p.m. start in Game 2. If a third game is necessary, it will begin 30 minutes after Game 2 ends.
The Belton team of fifth-year head coach Mark Krueger surges into postseason action after winning the 12-6A championship with a 13-1 record. The Tigers have won 10 straight games since a 2-0 loss at rival Temple on March 26.
Belton (23-3-1) is No. 7 in the state in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association rankings and No. 11 in the Diamond Pro/Texas High School Baseball rankings.
Duncanville's Panthers (16-13) finished 11-6A competition as the No. 4 seed, behind champion Mansfield, Waco Midway and Waxahachie.
The Belton-Duncanville winner will advance to next week's area round to play the victor of the first-round series between 9-6A runner-up Garland Sachse (15-12-1) and 10-6A third-place squad Tyler Legacy (20-8).
Belton's pitching staff is powered by senior right-hander Brady Shadrick (10-0), a Texas-Arlington track and field commitment, and senior lefty Jason Bonnett, who pitched a five-inning perfect game in the Tigers' 10-0 home win over Killeen on April 27.
Belton has a pair of Mary Hardin-Baylor commitments in senior catcher Cooper Babcock and senior center fielder Keagan Wolfe and two East Texas Baptist commitments in senior shortstop Ben Jones and senior second baseman Scott Gurnett.
The other playoff series involving 12-6A qualifiers are runner-up Harker Heights against Waxahachie, third-place Killeen Ellison against Midway and fourth-place Copperas Cove – which edged Temple 5-4 in the tiebreaker game last Saturday – against Mansfield.