Surprising power source lifts WHS into region final, sectional
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
Reputations aside, the senior proved she can swat with the best of them, providing the Westview softball team with all the runs it would need in a 3-0 win over the visiting Haywood County Lady Tomcats in the Region 7-AA semifinals Monday at the Martin Recreation Complex.
"Last year in this game (the region semifinal), she hit one off the fence here," Westview head coach J.B. Suiter said of Belote's effort after his team's win. "She gets zoned in for games like this. She's the most aggressive batter I've got. She was our clutch player of the year last year statistically."
Westview's win advances the team into Wednesday's regional final. The Lady Chargers will face Covington at 6 p.m. in a rematch of the 2007 Region 7-AA championship game. Covington edged Milan 1-0 in extra innings in its semifinal contest.
Belote also made a fine play with her glove. The center fielder ranged far to her right into the gap in left center field and snared a sinking line drive on the run for the first out in the sixth inning. The play proved to be big as two batters later, Haywood's Whitley Sullivan doubled to deep left.
Westview starting pitcher Shanna Chappell stranded Sullivan in scoring position with a strikeout to end the threat. The sophomore right hander struck out 11 in the game while allowing just three hits, walking two and hitting one batter.
Haywood had a baserunner in each of its first three at-bats but the Westview defense and pitching kept the game scoreless.
In the home half of the third, WHS catcher McKenzie Norris chopped a high bouncer off the plate and legged it out for an infield single. With courtesy runner Judy Bowers on first base, Tomcat pitcher Maggie Gardner then walked her only batter of the day, Katelyn Veteto.
Gardner got a strikeout for the first out, bringing Belote to the plate. The switch-hitter, batting right handed, smashed a drive that carried over the fence in left field. Belote's homer ignited a celebration at the plate and clearly shifted the momentum into the Lady Charger dugout.
Westview maintained its 3-0 lead, stifling any attempt at a Haywood rally over the final four innings
In addition to the base hits by Belote and Norris, Ashley Bynum and Sam Giesler each recorded a single.