Diamond Tigers split pair of games against I-44 foes

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 4/27/22

Forced to go 12 days between games due to a combination of inclement weather and wet field conditions, Bryce Gehlert’s Belle Tiger baseball team finally got to see action on Monday, April 18 …

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Diamond Tigers split pair of games against I-44 foes

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Forced to go 12 days between games due to a combination of inclement weather and wet field conditions, Bryce Gehlert’s Belle Tiger baseball team finally got to see action on Monday, April 18 against Cuba’s Wildcats.

Tied at 3-3 after one inning, Belle saw two errors, a walk and four hits by Cuba in the bottom of the sixth inning turn into five runs.

Unable to answer in the top of the seventh inning, Belle dropped an 8-3 road decision to Cuba in Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) baseball action.

Playing as the visitors in Crawford County, Belle was able to break the scoreless tie in the top of the first inning against the host Wildcats.

Kameron Newton started the one-out rally with a walk before back-to-back singles from Clayton Shockley and Carter Kinkead loaded the bases for Tiger first baseman Zane Strunk.

Two pitches later, Strunk hit a two-RBI single to right field scoring Newton and Shockley giving Belle an early 2-0 lead.

Isaiah Sullinger then singled to reload the bases for Kaiden Robertson.

Facing an 0-2 count, Robertson produced a RBI groundout scoring Kinkead giving the visiting Tigers a 3-0 lead before Cuba’s half of the first inning.

Five hits and a Belle error later, Cuba answered with three runs of their own to tie the game at 3-3 through one inning of baseball.

Over the next four innings, Newton was able to keep Cuba off the scoreboard while striking out six Wildcat batters.

Gehlert’s Tigers had a shot to break the tie in the top of the second inning but could not turn singles by Sam Willis and Newton into runs.

A Robertson single went for naught in the top of the fourth inning when Belle’s next three batters struck out to mark the halfway point of the game.

Still tied at 3-3 after five innings, Belle had another chance to break the tie in the top of the sixth.

A Sullinger walk and Robertson single with one out went by the wayside after a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.

Now trailing 8-3 down to their last three outs, Belle was able to get a pair of runners on base.

Willis was hit by a pitch leading off the top of the seventh inning before a one-out single by Shockley put a pair of runners on base.

Unable to do any further damage, the Tigers dropped their GVC showdown in Cuba.

Taking the loss, Newton allowed six runs (one earned) on 10 hits and two walks to go with seven strikeouts.

Shockley and Robertson both had two hits apiece leading the Tigers in that department.

Last Tuesday night, Belle hit the road once again to take on another Interstate 44 foe in St. James’ Tigers.

In a reversal of fortune from their game at Cuba, the Maries County Tigers broke open a 5-4 game with six runs in the top of the sixth inning going on to a 10-4 victory in Phelps County at Nelson Hart Park.

Leading the game off with a single, Willis eventually scored on a Shockley RBI double giving Belle an early 1-0 lead going to the bottom of the first inning.

St. James tied the game with a run in the bottom of the first before plating two more runs in the bottom of the second putting Belle into a 3-1 deficit after two innings.

A two-out rally ensued for Belle in the top of the third inning.

Shockley kept the frame alive with a two-out double before scoring on a Kinkead RBI double cutting St. James’ lead in half to 3-2.

Strunk continued the two-out rally for Belle with a RBI single scoring Kinkead knotting the game back up at 3-3 after three innings with Glayden Woodruff holding St. James scoreless in the bottom of the third.

In spite of a rare four strikeout inning, Belle found a way to scratch a run across in the top of the fourth.

Sullinger led off by reaching on a dropped third strike before stealing second base during Cole Loughridge’s at-bat.

Two strikeouts later, Willis laced a RBI single into right-center field scoring Sullinger giving Belle a 4-3 lead through four innings.

More two-out magic ensued for the Maries County Tigers in the top of the fifth inning.

Kinkead hit a one-out double for his second two-bagger of the game with one out.

Coming through with two outs, Robertson recorded a RBI single scoring Kinkead pushing Belle’s lead to 5-3.

Limiting the damage to one run on two hits in the bottom of the fifth, Woodruff helped Belle stay ahead of St. James 5-4 after five innings.

Inning number six saw Belle put the game away in Phelps County.

Loughridge led the top of the sixth off with a single before a Woodruff walk advanced him to second base.

After Woodruff stole home, Newton drove in Loughridge on a RBI double bumping Belle’s lead to 7-4 with one out.

Shockley followed with a RBI double of his own allowing Newton to score before he stole home later in the inning.

Kinkead then walked before scoring Belle’s final run on a Robertson RBI double.

Winning the battle of red and white Tiger schools, Belle was led on offense by Shockley with three hits, two runs scored and two runs batted in (RBI).

Willis, Kinkead, Robertson and Loughridge each also had multi-hit games for Belle with two apiece.

Woodruff earned the win allowing four runs on 10 hits and no walks to go with three strikeouts.

Weather and field conditions permitting, Belle is scheduled this week to host Plato tomorrow (Thursday) and Eugene Friday.

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