CAPTION: Burnet senior lineman Kaleb Maynard (in the gray T-shirt) signs his National Letter of Intent to play college football for Sul Ross University during a ceremony March 24 with the Burnet football coaches in attendance. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The District 25-4A soccer champions played like it in bi-district championship wins March 24 and the top teams on the diamond in District 24-4A didn’t miss a beat either. March 24 brought a lot of smiles to the faces of Burnet County sports fans, even to those whose teams weren’t as fortunate to get a win.
- Let’s start on the pitch at Mustang Stadium with the boys soccer team that was more than effective in a 7-1 stomping of Wimberley to add a bi-district championship to the program’s history. Until head coach Rick Hoover said it, it didn’t occur to me that these Mustangs had never participated in a playoff game until this season. The last time a Marble Falls boys team was in the playoffs was in 2019 when the Mustangs advanced as the fourth seed and reached the regional quarterfinals. One year earlier Marble Falls advanced to the Class 5A Region IV tournament where it lost to Valley View 6-0, which is still the best finish in program history. The 2023 bi-district win means the Mustangs continue on a course to face Boerne High, the three-time defending state champion and an 8-0 winner against Burnet March 24, in the third round of the playoffs. But first, Marble Falls must find a way to get past Uvalde (10-12-2, 8-2-2 District 28 runner-up) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Boerne ISD Stadium, 1 Greyhound Lane.
- Mustang Stadium also was the site of the Marble Falls-Wimberley girls soccer game in which the Texanns won 2-0. While the contest didn’t go the Lady Mustangs’ way, they accomplished plenty this season. First, this team advanced to the playoffs for only the second time in program history. Second, these Lady Mustangs didn’t play like the moment was too big or were intimated by it, which is a sign of a mature and well-coached team. And lastly, which is most important, these players have caught the attention of the players in the program and in the athletic department and have challenged their peers to match them in success. Now that soccer season has ended, I’m curious to see which of these outstanding athletes will join the track team and bring that killer instinct with them.
- At Dripping Springs’ Tiger Stadium, the girls District 25-4A champion Burnet Lady Dawgs turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into a 5-1 blowout victory against Fischer Canyon Lake. Head coach Kimberly Myhre challenged her athletes at the intermission to play like the champions they are. And to the Lady Dawgs’ credit, they responded. There’s not much more to say after that except Burnet will play Gonzales at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Hutto High School.
- Let’s move to the softball diamond where another Lady Dawgs team earned impressive wins last week. Let’s start with the 9-0 shutout of the Lady Badgers in Lampasas March 24. Burnet sophomore pitcher Presely Crawford went seven complete innings with 12 strikeouts and gave up only two hits. Meanwhile, the Lady Dawgs packed their bats and quickly gave themselves a 3-0 lead after the first inning. Credit the Lady Dawgs for not getting caught up in the back-and-forth of a rivalry match-up, staying focused on the task at hand, and then playing consistently well from start to finish. They left no doubt which was the better team that night. In addition, Burnet beat Lago Vista 18-0 March 21. Next up is a big contest at Jarrell, which also is 3-0, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 28.
- The Lady Dawgs’ counterpart, the baseball team, is showing its own killer instinct beginning with the 8-7 win against Marble Falls in a battle for first place in district. The Bulldogs battled back from an early 3-1 deficit to put six on the board highlighted by a three-run homer by Jesse Bachmayer in the fourth inning. The difference in this one was Burnet’s ability to get three outs in each inning and force the Mustangs to strand eight runners, including bases loaded in the crucial sixth inning when Marble Falls had plated three runs and needed a fourth to tie the contest. Burnet finished the first round with a 6-2 victory at Lago Vista. Now the format changes. Since the district has six members, coaches chose to play each other three times where opponents will play each other for the second and third games in the same week. So beginning with the Tuesday, March 28, second round, Burnet will travel to Jarrell and then welcome the Cougars to Bulldog Diamonds Friday, March 31. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
- The Marble Falls Mustangs bounced back from the disappointing loss to Burnet with a decisive 13-3 victory against Jarrell March 24 to stay a game behind the Bulldogs. Cale Cochran was the winning pitcher and helped his own cause with his hitting. But he got plenty of help as illustrated by the 13 runs. Marble Falls travels to play at Lampasas Tuesday then welcomes the Badgers Friday, March 31.
- Another team was playing a tremendous game in a losing effort on March 21 in a pitcher’s duel. In the end, a run in the first inning was all Ingram sophomore pitcher Maverick Delgado needed for a 1-0 victory against Llano. And it was too bad for the Yellow Jackets, who got a superb pitching performance from Caden Bauman who gave up a total of four hits. The contest was over in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Llano responded with a 16-0 win against Florence March 24 where the Jackets plated all the runs they needed in the first inning. They’re bracing for a better challenge this week when they travel to Brady Tuesday, March 28, and welcome Blanco Friday, March 31. Blanco is a baseball powerhouse, and Llano and Blanco have developed a rivalry throughout their athletic departments, so this one should be a great contest.
- A three-way tie for first place in District 5-3A softball doesn’t include Llano, which is currently fourth. Blanco, Comfort and Florence are 3-1 with Llano at 2-2. Comfort and Florence each have an outstanding pitcher. Comfort has Emma Wardlaw, who is committed to Lamar, while Florence has a pitcher in Stone, who struck out 15 Lady Jackets March 24. Since its 9-0 loss to Llano to begin district play, Blanco has won three consecutive contests including a 10-9 victory against Comfort March 24 after run-ruling Brady and Ingram. Llano already has run-ruled Ingram and should do the same against Brady Tuesday, March 28, before starting the second round of district play at home against Blanco. While Llano’s pitching has been on target with senior Madison Kloepper and junior Skylar Brown, the Lady Jackets must find a way to earn more runs. That’s the difference between Blanco, Comfort and Florence. Those teams are providing the necessary run support — and bringing in the runs with timely hitting — that allows their pitchers to throw with a cushion. To prove my point, let’s take a closer look at Comfort since the Doe played Llano, Florence and Blanco in three consecutive games. During wins against Llano and Florence, Wardlaw’s teammates averaged a run an inning. They lost to Blanco 10-9. During Llano’s loss to Comfort, the winning run in the seventh inning was stranded at second. Then Comfort scored two in the eighth, which is more than enough for Wardlaw for the win. Wardlaw struck out eight Lady Jackets in eight innings, while Kloepper struck out eight Doe and Brown struck out nine Doe. Llano’s other loss in district play was to Florence 3-2.
- The Burnet Bulldog Relays March 23 offered a little bit of a District 24-4A preview thanks to Georgetown Gateway, Lampasas and Marble Falls all participating. The meet confirmed once more that A). Burnet’s Grant Jones is the best male athlete in the county; B). Burnet County should dominate the pole vaulting thanks to Burnet’s Brayden Hill and Brady Rygaard and Marble Falls’ Anne McCary, Katherine McCary and Morgan Burke; and C). don’t be surprised if the district championships come down to results in the relays. This meet also showed that Marble Falls has some holes to fill in some events, particularly for the Lady Mustangs. That’s why it would be incredible to see the athletes who’ve enjoyed successful seasons in other sports and can run and jump make their way to track practices and show their talents in this sport. The truth is that athletes enjoy being part of a winning team. And track is a sport that allows for individual recognition where points can be earned for the team totals. That’s the difference between this sport and those on the hardwood and on the pitch.
- And finally, a huge congratulations to Marble Falls junior power lifter Xavier Lopez for being the Class 4A state runner-up in the 181-pound division with a 690-pound squat, a 315-pound bench press, and a 675-pound dead lift. Senior Jasuel Ruiz was 13th in the 148-pound weight division thanks to a 465-pound squat, a 255-pound bench press, and a 480-pound dead lift for a total of 1,200 pounds. Junior Chase Richard, who also qualified in the 123-pound weight division, didn’t compete because of an injury. There’s a story coming on the state meet. But the biggest takeaway is these Mustangs showed the possibilities of competing on the state level and doing well. That should help the entire athletic program.
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