Elks’ Hauch comes up short in pitching duel
ARLINGTON — Thursday’s night Class 5A Region I area-round one-game playoff between Burleson and Colleyville Heritage came down to two at bats.
Heritage’s Bobby Witt Jr.’s first two plate appearances led directly to runs as the Panthers defeated the Elks, 2-0, at Globe Life Park.
“Bobby Witt Jr. is a special player and if I could go back again I’d intentionally walk him three times instead of once,” Burleson coach Daniel Bruce said. “Even with no one on base he is just so dangerous. We made a mistake on the home run.”
The loss ended the Elks season with a record of 23-8-1. Heritage (33-2) will play the winner of the best-of-three series between Mansfield Legacy and Azle in the regional quarterfinals.
Witt, who could be the first pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, hit a solo home run in his first at bat and tripled in his second at bat and scored with two-out on a passed ball.
Other than that, Burleson senior pitcher Cameron Hauch was dominate on the mound. Hauch scattered four hits in six innings while allowing two runs (one earned), striking out four and walking one.
“I can’t thank Cameron Hauch enough,” Bruce said. “He shoved it to one of the top teams in the nation. I don’t care what people say, those guys are the top team in the state.”
Hauch worked his way around a lead off single in the second inning and then in the sixth worked his way out of a one-out jam.
With runners at second and third, Hauch got Nick Balsano to hit into a fielder’s choice that ended with Logan Britt being tagged out in a rundown between third and home. With runners at first and second, Hauch struck out Mason Greer and Chandler Freeman looking, to end the inning.
“If Bobby Witt Jr. wasn’t on their team it would have been a 0-0 game,” Hauch said. “I thought I pitched well. I made a couple of mistakes that I shouldn’t have made and it cost us.”
Burleson hit the ball hard Thursday night against Heritage starter Austin Glaze but had nothing to show for it. Glaze limited the Elks to three hits in seven scoreless innings. He fanned seven and walked none.
“We hit balls hard but sometimes they were right at them,” Bruce said.
Cody Griever singled with two out in the second inning but he was stranded. In the fourth, Carson Hallack singled with two out but courtesy runner Zion Webster was thrown out stealing.
Panthers’ third baseman Greer made three nice plays Thursday including reaching into the stands in the fifth to retire Jagger Johns on a foul ball. Greer ended the fifth by nabbing a Jacob Amador line drive.
“Offensively, Greer didn’t hurt us,” Bruce said. “But defensively he did. He’s a dang good player.”
The Elks’ had a chance in the seventh after T.J. Pound singled with one out but Glaze induced a game-ending double play from Hallack.
“I can’t thank these seniors enough for their leadership and the way they showed these guys how to play,” Bruce said. “And everyone else who stepped in every single role that we needed. A 23-win season is pretty special. After seeing the way we pitched in the tournaments, I knew it was going to be a good season as long as we could stay healthy. Their work ethic is what made them successful.”