Smith-Cotton took advantage of four Belton errors to beat the Pirates 13-2 in six innings in the Tigers’ second game of the West Central Missouri Baseball Tournament on Thursday at Liberty Park Stadium.
“We just took the pitches and hit what they gave us,” said Tigers winning pitcher Dalton Christian. “If they gave us a fastball, we were on top of it.”
Using a lineup with a little more speed that they often put on the field, the Tigers scored in every inning but the fourth and racked up 12 hits. Eight of the nine starters got a hit. The only one who didn’t, Trevor Rialti, walked twice and scored two runs.
“That’s a great productive night there up and down,” said Smith-Cotton coach Jeff Mays. “Even some of our outs we put balls in play and put pressure on them. That’s what some speed will do for you when you get guys who can get down the line.”
Christian made sure the lead stood up, striking out 10 in the complete-game victory.
“The first few innings I was able to locate my fastball really well,” he said. “Coaches helped me when I started to fall off and not locate. They helped me to make sure I was going downhill.”
Christian worked a one-two-three first inning with three groundballs, getting out of it on 10 pitches. After a single to leadoff the second, Christian struck out the next five Pirates he faced.
“He didn’t have the breaking ball but he threw the fastball well and threw a lot of strikes,” Mays said. “If we can keep him sound, mechanically, he’s pretty good.”
Smith-Cotton got on the board with four runs in the first, helped by several Belton miscues. Chance McMullin and Dakota Brown both reached on errors to lead off the game. No. 3 hitter Ian Dotson doubled to deep center to score both, then scored himself on a throwing error. Christian followed that with a single to center that the Belton centerfielder lost in the lights. Courtesy runner Cole Simoncic came around to score three batters later to make it 4-0.
The Tigers got two more in the second when Brown singled to score McMullin and Christian stroked a two-out double to score Brown.
“I was just looking to make contact,” Christian said. “The count was full. I was just trying to get the ball in play, and luckily I got a good pitch inside and I was able to yank it down the line.”
In the third inning, Luke Archibeque dropped a blooper into rightfield to score Dalton Zaremba from third. Brown followed with a sacrifice fly to score Rialti.
Smith-Cotton got three more in the fifth when Brown singled to score Rialti, Archibeque scored on a groundout and Christian singled to score Brown.
Smith-Cotton made it 13-2 in the sixth. Aaron Dieckman scored on a groundball and Dotson drew a bases-loaded walk to score Archibeque.
Christian went 3 for 5 at the plate. Brown was 2 for 2.
Smith-Cotton (3-5) will face Harrisonville at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Liberty Park Stadium.
WEST CENTRAL MISSOURI TOURNAMENT: Smith-Cotton vs. Harrisonville
7:30 p.m. Friday at Liberty Park Stadium