CAPTION: Marble Falls senior pitcher Bryce Atkinson helped the Mustangs even the series with Burnet and keep them in first place in the District 24-4A standings. Photo by Priscilla Gonzalez
The Marble Falls High School baseball team defeated Burnet 10-2 April 18 to even the District 24-4A series at one game each.
Game three is at 8 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Bulldog Diamonds in Burnet to accommodate officials.
Marble Falls’ (18-6, 10-2) win gives the Mustangs a two-game lead over the Bulldogs (8-4) in the race for the district championship with three games left.
Mustangs head coach Tyler Porter said his team didn’t feel any pressure for one reason.
“We’re in first place,” he said. “It’s good to win, and it’d be nice to win the district. Nick Saban says you talk about your ultimate goal 20 percent of the time and the immediate goal 80 percent. Our saying is ‘how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.'”
“They played really well, and we didn’t play our best,” Burnet head coach Russell Houston said. “They got two-out hits, and we didn’t get two-out hits.”
Marble Falls senior pitcher Bryce Atkinson led the way and made a statement at the start. His first pitch was a strike, and he got the first out with a strikeout. The next batter flew out to center field, and Atkinson struck out the next batter to end the inning. In the second, Kurt Kassner hit a single, but Atkinson responded with a strikeout and then forced the next batter to hit into a double play when shortstop Jake Carter picked up the ground ball, touched second base and fired to first baseman Canon Cochran for the out.
The Mustang hurler said he felt he was in his rhythm from the start.
“After the first inning,” he said. “It went pretty quick. Throwing that first strike was pretty good and going through another quick inning (the second). Everyone’s spirits were up. As a pitcher you have to go up there and be loose. I’ve never been one to feel pressure. I felt if I could do what I needed to, we’d get it done.”
Offensively, Carter led the way. He recorded the game’s first hit, stole second and went to third on a groundout by Isaias Roman. Carter scored the game’s first run when he went home on a pass ball. Canon Cochran hit a RBI double to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
In the second, Marble Falls added three more: A.J. Scovil, Evan Nickowski and Carter each drew walks that set up Canon Cochran for a 2 RBI single to center field. Roman hit a sacrifice flyball for the 5-0 lead.
Braden Ellett-Clark got the Bulldogs on the board thanks to reaching on a single in the third inning then stealing second. He went home on a ground out by Will Johnson.
Marble Falls got the run back in the fourth on Roman’s RBI single then added two more runs in the fifth when an outfielder dropped a flyball — that would have ended the inning — that allowed Scovil and Nickowski to go home for a 7-1 lead.
In the sixth inning, Cale Cochran hit a RBI single and then scored when the Bulldogs opted for a double play to get two outs.
Burnet’s Dash Denton picked up the RBI in the seventh inning.
Atkinson (3-1) allowed two runs off four hits and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings. A.J. Scovil took over and allowed one hit. Burnet stranded six runners, three of them in the fourth inning after the first two Bulldogs of the inning grounded out and flew out, while Marble Falls left nine.
“We competed, but we didn’t make plays when we had chances,” Houston said.
Atkinson noted the runs, especially early, do plenty for the pitchers and the defense.
“It gives you insurance,” he said.
“We are finally getting hitting and good at-bats,” he said. “Everybody is contributing in different ways. Everyone’s a dude.”
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