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Bulldogs earn another come-from-behind district win

The Burnet High School baseball team found itself in familiar territory March 18 against Salado.

The Bulldogs (6-4-1, 3-0 District 19-4A) lost their 5-3 lead headed into the seventh inning when the Eagles (7-5, 2-1) put three runs on the board for a 6-5 advantage. That’s when Burnet went to work.

Ralston Vance had the game-tying RBI single. Jesse Bachmayer advanced Vance’s courtesy runner, Colby Zinz, to third on a ground ball. Zinz scored on a pass ball for the 7-6 win.

“We’re 2-0 at home (in district play), which is a good thing and 3-0 right now,” head coach Russell Houston said. “It’s a good place to be. I don’t know if there’s more pressure to win at home. Wins are big.”

Burnet faced another moment of truth early in the game. The Eagles took a 2-0 lead when the Bulldogs committed a couple of errors then added to the advantage in the fourth inning with another run.

“After that we cleaned everything up and made good plays,” Houston said. “Will Johnson played well in the outfield. Defensively, we’re starting to make the routine plays. If they’ll make the routine plays, we’ll be in the ball game with a chance to win it at the end.”

Burnet also got the bats going. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the fourth inning, two more in the fifth, and one in the sixth and took advantage of walks by Johnson, Braden Ellett-Clark and Jackson Crawford.

Catcher Tanner O’Hair hit a two-run double, and Boden Savage, a senior transfer from Salado, had a couple of big hits.

“(This game) was big for Boden,” Houston said.

Burnet pitcher Vance was credited with the win. He pitched seven complete innings and had three strikeouts while throwing 14 first-pitch strikes.

“He’s a kid who pitches to contact,” the coach said. “There’s not a lot of strikeouts, so we have to play good defense behind him. He pitched a lot of strikes.”

A week earlier, the Bulldogs struggled during the two games at the Blanco Tournament March 12 where they lost both. Houston said the team was at a cross roads when coaches and players met March 14 for practice. They spent several minutes talking about what they want to accomplish the rest of the season.

The result was a come-from-behind win against Georgetown Gateway 5-4 March 15.

“The kids figured it out,” Houston said. “They stepped up and started doing things. If we don’t make the comeback (against Gateway), we don’t win (against Salado). They’re starting to believe in each other and starting to believe in what we’ve been talking about. They’re starting to believe in themselves. This program has been in a place where they didn’t know how to win or how to overcome. They’re starting to get there.”

Burnet will travel to Taylor, 355 FM 973, on Tuesday, March 22. The junior varsity plays at 4:30, while the varsity follows at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs know the importance of winning at home and will take momentum with them.

“It puts us at the top right now,” Houston said. “We still have to play 12 more games. That was a big win (against Salado) for us.”

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