Elks have momentum going into bi-district playoff series
After sputtering in the first half of District 9-5A play, Burleson’s baseball team soared its way through the second half of its 9-5A schedule to earn a playoff berth.
The Elks defeated Crowley, 6-0, Friday to finish in a tie for fourth place with Granbury, then beat the Pirates 9-6 Saturday to clinch the No. 3 seed in the district.
Burleson (18-12) heads into its best-of-three Class 5A Region II bi-district playoff series with Mansfield Legacy having won eight of its last nine games.
“I’m excited for the players to have earned their way into the playoffs,” Burleson coach Daniel Bruce said. “I don’t know if what put us on our current streak was the seniors realizing they didn’t want to wait until the end of district play and having to rely on someone else winning or losing for them to get in. Winning those games had to do with some of their maturity and staying on an even keel as far as not getting too high or too low emotionally.”
The Elks open the playoffs with Game 1 at 7 p.m. Friday at Burleson. Game 2 will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Legacy with Game 3, if needed, to follow 30 minutes after Game 2.
Friday night, Cayden Cassidy, stayed in the form he has shown in the second half of district play by tossing a complete-game two-hitter. Cassidy struck out seven and walked three as the Elks reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
“They played huge Friday,” Bruce said. “They had to get that win and in the past, we haven’t played well at Crowley. They haven’t let who they are playing affect them or how they play their game.”
The Elks took the lead in the fourth inning with a pair of runs off a run-scoring double from Davin White and Christian Hallack’s RBI-single.
Parker Shaha belted a solo home run in the sixth. Burleson added two more runs in the inning on a run-scoring double by Hallack and single by Hayden Alexander that scored Hallack. Shaha added an RBI-hit in the seventh.
Saturday in the seeding game against Granbury, Alexander took the mound and gave the Elks four good innings. The senior allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits. He walked two and fanned two. Staked to a 6-2 lead, relievers Isaiah Smith and Blake Myers contained the Pirates in the last three innings.
“Hayden Alexander was strong early and we hit a lot of baseballs hard,” Bruce said.
Shaha stayed hot, hitting a two-run home run while Logan Hammit went 3-for-3 with two RBI and three doubles. White hit a double and Myers tripled. J.T. Smith, Cassidy and Nik Sanchez each drove in runs in the win.