Baseball Featured Golf High School Running Softball Tennis 

Ten Highland Lakes Sports Insights

Two weeks remain in the high school baseball regular season and Burnet and Marble Falls are neck and neck in the District 24-4A standings. Meanwhile, the Burnet Lady Dawgs are on the verge of adding their fourth district crown this school year, while the Llano Yellow Jackets took another step toward adding Districk 5-3A title No. 5. The 2022-23 school year has been one for the record books for Highland Lakes athletic departments. So let’s get in it.

  1. District 24-4A eyes will on Burnet County this week as the Bulldogs and Mustangs play each other for first place. Because district members must play each other three times, there’s a great chance that the winner of the series will win an untied district crown, unlike what happened in boys basketball. Burnet beat Marble Falls in the first game 8-7 behind the pitching performances of seniors Kurt Kassner and Braden Ellett-Clark and Cooper Faris. The Mustangs’ Tuesday starter is senior Bryce Atkinson. Don’t expect a change there. This series will come down to which team can score runs after two outs and being aggressive on the bases. If Marble Falls wants to win the district, it must beat Burnet twice and then split the regular-season final series with Jarrell the following week. Burnet simply needs to split with the Mustangs this week, though the Bulldogs are thinking season sweep. And Burnet ends the regular season against Lago Vista. The Bulldogs play at the Mustangs’ Scearce Field at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, and then welcome the Mustangs to Bulldog Diamonds at 8 p.m. Friday, April 21.
  2. The Burnet softball team is looking to secure the Lady Dawgs’ fourth district title this year and all its has to do is beat Marble Falls at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Bulldog Diamonds. It’s been an amazing 2023 for the Lady Dawgs and their returners, who were part of the 2022 team whose season ended a in a play-in loss to Georgetown Gateway. To state that setback has driven the Lady Dawgs is an understatement. As power hitter Maddi Moise explained, she and her teammates use that memory throughout every practice at every at-bat, drill and other preparation. And that may tell the story of why Moise is now the Lady Dawgs’ leader in most home runs in a season. She broke former teammate Savannah Gomez’s record of seven when she hit No. 8 in the bottom of the first inning during the 6-0 win against Jarrell April 14.
  3. District title No. 3 for the Lady Dawgs happened at Mustang Stadium and Leonel Manzano Track April 13 when Burnet won both the varsity and junior varsity divisions. Give head coach Crystal Shipley and her staff credit for emphasizing one important trait of this sport. It is possible to stack the events with athletes to get points. And when they added quality athletes who can score massive points, teams earned the all important separation or gap that was necessary to win the district title and not finish second. Congratulations to Shipley and the Lady Dawgs for their commitment to preparation and turning the white track with purple stripes into Kelly green.
  4. The Burnet Bulldogs track and field teams finished second in the varsity and junior varsity divisions. Lago Vista won the varsity division and my first thought was that it’s a good thing the Vikings play football in Class 4A Division II. That means they are not in the same football district as Burnet and Marble Falls though we’ll see how quickly that changes. Jarrell, which finished third in the varsity boys standings, also plays football in Class 4A Division II. As for the Bulldogs, they showed their depth in making adjustments to two relay teams April 13, the final day of the meet. Head coach Ben Speer received word that one of the runners was sick and couldn’t perform. So he reshuffled the teams and put the Bulldogs in position to go for gold. That shows the depth and the commitment to team the coaches always emphasize.
  5. Marble Falls head track and field coach Austin Silva commended the Mustangs and Lady Mustangs for their efforts and praised those who found a way to advance to the area meet. The boys varsity team finished fourth in the team standings with Lampasas in fifth place. Perhaps the most cruel finish happened in the 1,600-meter relay where the Mustangs were in fourth place as the final baton was passed. Lago Vista won the race in 3 minutes and 38.85 seconds, while Jarrell was second at 3:30.49, Georgetown Gateway was third at 3:30.97, and Lampasas featuring Jett Walker and Aden Rascoe — two Badgers who made up the bulk of the football team’s rushing attack — finished fourth in 3:32.42 to the Mustangs’ 3:33.66. Still, the Mustangs’ 800-meter relay team of Austin Cutchin, Adrian Martinez, Dax Murphy and Zach Woody broke the school record en route to finishing second in 1:31.93 and advancing to area. The old record was 1:32.44.
  6. The Llano Yellow Jackets were beyond impressive on the track where they finished races in the places they were supposed to. Perhaps the most valuable move, though, happened off the track when head coach Ryan Priem pulled his runners aside and gave them some truths. The relays were told in what order they had to finish for the Jackets to win the District 5-3A crown. The same conversation happened with the hurdlers. To their credit, Priem emphasized, the runners performed at their championship levels and never blinked in their pursuit of medals and points. That’s how programs add title after title. It’s one move to talk about winning and quite another to go do it. And that says plenty about these Jackets and their commitment to one another, to their coaches and to their community.
  7. Let me apologize to Llano baseball and head coach Todd Doucet for doubting them. On April 14, after attending the Lady Dawgs’ big win against Jarrell and driving home, I turned on KITY radio to tune into Art Dlugach and Tyler McDonough, who were calling the game. I turned off the radio with Brady leading 6-1 in the fifth inning. Apparently, the Jackets had the Bulldogs right where they wanted them because Llano scored seven unanswered in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings for the win. My deepest apologies to the Jackets for doubting them. The next day, Llano visited Blanco in a contest, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, that moved to April 15 to accommodate the Jackets who have at least three athletes traveling to Abilene for the Class 3A Region I tournament. Blanco won 4-6 to split the season series with Llano though both teams have seven wins apiece. Llano has one district game remaining, while the Panthers have two.
  8. The District 5-3A softball race is much clearer after April 14. The Llano Lady Jackets look to be locked into finishing as the runners-up even if Blanco, which beat Florence 10-0, defeats Brady Monday, April 17, and has the identical 7-3 record as Llano. The reason is because the Lady Jackets swept the Lady Panthers in the season series, and the first tiebreaker is head to head. Meanwhile Florence will face Comfort Monday, April 17, and even if the Buffaloes beat the Doe, Comfort has won the district crown because they have eight wins. Next up for the Lady Jackets is a warm-up game against Round Rock Cedar Ridge at 6 p.m. Friday, April 21 in Llano.
  9. Let’s get back to golf. We’ve already mentioned the Jackets competing at the Class 3A Division I tournament in Abilene, which is Monday and Tuesday, April 17 and 18. The Jackets won the District 5-3A championship and also finished as the runners-up March 27 and April 4 because head coach Mike McIntosh created two teams that were evenly matched in pursuit of taking both regional berths. In addition, freshman Jordan Hussion also qualified for the girls regional tournament by taking one of the medalist spots available to two golfers who are not on advancing teams. The move to Region I means facing Brock, the defending Class 3A state champion, at the regional tournament. The Jackets will have to play well in order to qualify for the state tournament. Marble Falls’ Madison Deberard and Burnet’s Avery Gowin will compete at the Class 4A Region III girls tournament April 17-18 and the Marble Falls Mustangs will play at regionals April 19-20. Both tournaments are at the Bearkat Golf Course in Huntsville.
  10. And finally, a special congratulations to the Burnet girls doubles team of Tatum Salinas and Aly Van Zandt, which was seeded second at the Class 4A Region III tournament April 11-12. After a first round bye, the Lady Dawgs easily won their next two matches before losing in the final. That set up a playback match with Lago Vista with a winner-take-all trip to state at stake. The Lady Dawgs easily won 6-2, 6-3. The Class 4A state tournament is Tuesday and Wednesday, April 25-26, in San Antonio.

Watch videos on Highland Lakes sports by going to Fierro’s YouTube channel and searching for The Broad Podcaster. Please like, subscribe and share.

Related posts

Leave a Comment