Elks get two big 9-5A wins late
Since losing to Centennial last Tuesday night, Burleson’s baseball team has done everything necessary to
stay in the District 9-5A playoff hunt.
The Elks downed district-leader Cleburne for the second time this season, 2-0, Friday and rallied past Arlington Seguin, 5-4, in eight innings Tuesday night. Both wins were on the road, to boot.
In both wins, Burleson had to score late to get out with crucial wins. The Elks won at Seguin in extra innings and scored twice at Cleburne in the seventh.
“The kids picked each other up and got two big wins,” Burleson coach Daniel Bruce said.
With the wins, the Elks are now tied for fourth place with Joshua. Burleson closes out the season Friday at Crowley. The best result Friday for Burleson would be a win over the Eagles and a Joshua loss Cleburne.
That scenario would lock up the final playoff spot for the Elks. Various other possibilities revolve around the results Friday including a possible two-team playoff or three-team tournament. Those games would most likely occur on Saturday.
The wind caused problems for the Elks Tuesday night as Seguin built a 1-0 lead and held on to it until the fifth when Burleson broke the game open with four unearned runs.
“The wind got us a little bit,” Bruce said. “We scored some runs later on and were able to chase their starting pitcher and a reliever out of the game. We had a comfortable three-run lead and then walks and errors happened.”
The Elks tied the game on a run-scoring balk then added runs on RBI-singles from Kayden Cassidy and David White. Parker Shaha scored the fourth run on the back-end of a double steal.
Burleson added a big run in the seventh on a bases-loaded single by Nik Sanchez.
Sanchez’s single proved big when the Cougars rallied for three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh off reliever Hayden Alexander. Bruce took starter Christian Hallack after six innings because his pitch count was high. The intent was to have Hallack available to start a possible play-in game on Saturday.
But Bruce had to bring Hallack back into the game to get out of the seventh inning jam.
In the eight, Hallack walked to open the innings. Courtesy runner Logan Hammit stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. With two-out, J.T. Smith’s single to left scored Hammit for a 6-5 lead.
“With the count 2-0, I was just looking for a fastball down the middle,” Smith said. “I was just lucky to get it and put a good piece on it. It felt great right after I got to first base. It was amazing.”
Hallack allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth but erased that runner with a double play. He then got a ground out to end the game.
Elks score twice in seventh for win
Friday night, Elks’ starter Cassidy worked 5.2 innings of scoreless ball allowing three hits while striking out two and walking three. Alexander picked up the win in relief with 1.1 scoreless innings.
“Kayden pitched a great game,” Bruce said. “Anytime you can hold a team of their caliber to no runs, that’s something special.”
Cassidy opened the seventh with a single and moved to second when Shaha reached on an error. White moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.
With two out, Jacob Amador singled in Cassidy and Alexander followed with a run-scoring single.
“We found a way to get guys on base late,” Bruce said. “Jacob Amador came up with a clutch hit and Hayden Alexander added an insurance run.”
Alexander walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh but then induced a ground ball double play. After a hit, Alexander got a fly out to end the game.