Elks versatilty has Bruce excited
As Burleson’s baseball team prepared to open its season today, Elks coach Daniel Bruce is still mixing and matching pieces.
That’s the fun part for Bruce who is working with an interesting mix of returning players and ready-to-go newcomers.
“I like this team,” Bruce said. “There are some young kids who are eager to play and talented enough to be on the varsity. I think they are going to push our juniors and seniors to be better. Once they are beyond the lines, I don’t see grade level. I just want to put out the best lineup that is going to help us win.”
The Elks open play today in the North Texas Classic. Burleson is one of four host sites for the tournament.
Bruce will use the Elks three tournaments to get the pieces in the right place before Burleson’s District 9-5A opener March 13 at Granbury. Last season, Burleson went 18-14 overall and 9-5 in district play. The Elks were swept by Mansfield Legacy in the bi-district round of the playoff.
“There are lot’s of moving parts right now,” Brice said. “We have so much competition going position-wise. That’s something I really like because that means we have more than one person that can play a position.”
The Elks are stacked as far as district starting pitching goes with seniors Kayden Cassidy, a second-team all-district performer last season, and Hayden Alexander, a Dallas Baptist signee, ready to take the mound. Sophomore Colton McCallum, who played with the varsity last season, along with junior Riley Waldrip and sophomore’s T.J. Pound and Isaiah Smith, will all pitch during the upcoming tournaments.
Behind the plate for the Elks will be either Waldrip or sophomore Carson Hallack. Playing first base could be either senior Trey Lopez or junior Cody Griever.
Senior Nick Bengochar and junior Nick Jameson will play at second base while McCallum or Pound will see time at shortstop. Bruce recently moved Alexander to third where he, Lopez or sophomore Kayce Young could see playing time.
Junior Jacob Amador will start in left field while Cassidy will start in center field when he isn’t pitching. Blake Meyers will start in right field once he returns from basketball.
“We were hit hard by graduation,” Bruce said. “We lost 10 seniors and a lot of them were big contributors. Youth isn’t really my concern with this team. I’m just wondering who will take over leadership-wise. That could go a long way in determining how far this team will go.